Lali worried by patient data move
Fraser-Nicola MLA, Harry Lali, who is running for the leadership of his New Democratic Party says that the BC Liberal government’s secret decision to allow HP Advanced Solutions to move PharmaCare patient data to Calgary may place some patients at risk.
“It is no small matter that they have taken the entire mainframe of this system out of B.C. to benefit HP Advanced Solutions,” says Lali.
“They tried to switch over on Jan. 7, but they couldn’t do it so they postponed it to the weekend of Jan. 21 to 23.”
“It is all being done to help the Liberal’s corporate buddies make a profit, but there is no social value to the people of B.C., so how does it help to move the entire health mainframe over to Alberta?”
Former Health Minister George Abbott, who is also engaged in a leadership race for the B.C. Liberals says that he has not been Health Minister since 2009.
“I am a bit removed from the technical decisions that may have been rendered by the ministry in the last few months,” says Abbott.“But I am not aware of any implications due to this move.”
While Abbott was Health Minister, a new electronic data base for doctors and patients to access their personal information was implemented. The system is called “my e-health” and has itself been embroiled in controversy, with allegations of fraud and cost over runs tainting the process.
“I was there for much of the foundation work for the e-health work,” says Abbott.
“I think it is good stuff and it can be helpful in improving health care.”
“We are now into the third or fourth year of what is supposed to be a five year implementation process.”
But for Lali he does not see this move to be in the best interest of British Columbians.
“The last two Health Ministers, George Abbott and Kevin Falcon, have been the architects of this privatization of patient records. It is hard to believe that any other government in Canada would choose their corporate friends over patients,”says Lali.
“This is huge in terms of impact. Now you have had Accenture and you have the administration of MSP premiums by Maximus all handled by American companies.”
“HP, an American company, is going to move these mainframe systems all over to Alberta.”
Abbott says that although there have been some issues with the oversight of the private companies contacted to do much of the administrative work in B.C.’s Health Ministry and at BC Hydro, it is still the right move for the province.
“Having well identified and articulated benchmarks is important and having robust auditing and management functions are pretty central to effective private sector provisions for some of these services,” says Abbott.
“The health information line was troubled for a time but the contractor in that case was able to overcome the challenges they had and the system has been running pretty effectively.”
Lali does not see it that way though and is committed to making health-care a foundation of his policy platform.
“My vision of health care is one that puts patients first. I am looking forward to holding this uncaring Liberal government accountable in the next election.”