Canadian Association of Gastroenterology: Open Letter to Canadians

New Data Concludes Wait Times for Patients With Gastrointestinal Disease Are Increasing Across Canada

That’s far longer than the 3 weeks Canadians have told us that they’re willing to wait. Frankly, four months is unacceptable. It is time we got our priorities straight. Surprisingly, in developing its wait list reform of the Canadian health care system, Paul Martin’s government overlooked digestive disease. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has sent a call to action to Prime Minister Paul Martin, urging him to include digestive disease as a health-care priority and ensure Canadian patients obtain necessary and timely access to our specialists. Canadian gastroenterologists are already out of the starting block. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has done its homework, talked to patients, and is now armed with information that will be crucial in improving the Canadian health care system. We have developed 24 recommended targets for medically-acceptable wait times for gastroenterology, based on a study conducted by nearly 200 Canadian GI specialists who captured data on 5,500 patient visits. We are ready to work with Canadians to make Paul Martin’s government pay attention. We are not looking for handouts. The simple infusion of federal dollars into the health care system is a band-aid solution. We must now go further, as a society. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology proposes to work hand-in-hand with Paul Martin’s government to develop the creative strategies that will finally allow us to bring wait times to acceptable levels. The federal government’s wait time initiative must be adapted in the face of current realities. We can no longer accept the unnecessary prolongation of suffering. The lives of Canadians are at risk.

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These states consume very little of the natural gas themselves, transferring it to other states with much higher natural gas demand. For example, Canadian natural gas entering through the states of Washington and Idaho supplies about one-quarter of the natural gas demand in Californiaaa state that gets over 55 percent of its electricity generation from natural gas. Natural gas is also used heavily in Californiaas buildings sector and for industrial uses. The state of Washington most likely gets all its natural gas demand from Canada. Source: Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_move_poe1_a_EPG0_IRP_Mmcf_a.htm Montana serves as a point of entry for Canadian natural gas and pipes most of the Canadian gas it receives to North Dakota, who in turn pipes it to Minnesota and South Dakota. Both Wisconsin and Illinois benefit from Canadian natural gas coming by pipeline from the Dakotas and Minnesota. Illinois uses three-quarters of its natural gas supplies in the residential and commercial sectors, heating homes and offices, while Wisconsin uses slightly less of a percentage in those sectors (about two-thirds). On the east coast, Vermont is entirely dependent on natural gas from Canada to meet its demand. Interestingly, Vermont was also the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing , which combined with horizontal drilling in shale structures, has made the U.S. the largest producer of natural gas in the world. Maine gets its natural gas supplies mainly from Canada and sends a large amount of natural gas to New Hampshire, who uses it to supply its own demand and also pipes supplies to Massachusetts. Massachusetts also receives domestic natural gas shipments and imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Trinidad and Tobago and Yemen via its LNG terminals in Everett, Massachusetts, and its Northeast Gateway terminal. Massachusettsa demand for natural gas is relatively high among U.S. states, using its natural gas supplies mostly in the buildings sector to meet residential and commercial demand, but also to generate electricity and for industrial uses. New York also receives natural gas imports from Canada, but receives a large amount of its natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. Seventy percent of New Yorkas demand is used in the buildings sector. Oil and Petroleum Product Imports from Canada The majority of the crude oil imported into the United States from Canada comes via pipeline. There are, however, Canadian crude oil and petroleum products arriving by ship to the East, West, and Gulf coasts and more recently, shipments to U.S.

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Canadian Oil and Natural Gas Imports: How Important Are They?

Colonoscopies are among the medical tests for which professional fees face a cut of 10%. Pointing to new initial data gathered in April 2012 from the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Survey of Access to GastroEnterology (SAGE), Desmond Leddin, Lead of the SAGE, says “a comparison of data from surveys performed in 2005 and 2008 shows that wait times for patients with gastrointestinal disease have increased across Canada.” “This CAG national survey information combined with the new fee structure in Ontario gives us cause for concern about patient safety,” says CAG President Dan Sadowski. “With evidence in hand that patient wait times have been increasing over the past seven years, we can’t support any government decision – in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada – that results in reduced access to, or longer wait times for, important medical procedures including colonoscopy, which can prevent and reduce cancer rates.” About 20,000 Canadians are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. Of that number, one-third will die of the disease. Notwithstanding these statistics, the CAG and OAG agree that cancer screening is a success story in Canada, and that prevention and early detection by access to colonoscopy is key to reducing the burden of the disease. The proof rests in the release of statistics on May 9 by the Canadian Cancer Society on the decline in deaths from colorectal cancer due to increased screening. “We have made important gains to reduce national rates of colorectal cancer through colonoscopy screening programs,” says Dan Sadowski. “We are concerned that the Ontario government’s decision to cut professional fees will have two bad outcomes. The first is that longer patient wait times will grow even longer due to a drop in access to cancer screening procedures. The second is that it may open the door to similar policy decisions in other regions in Canada. In both cases, it is the patient who will bear the brunt of these decisions.” Links:

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