Support Dr. Roland Wong

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onlinediscountanvils
Support Dr. Roland Wong

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onlinediscountanvils

[url=http://ocap.ca/node/1091]Support Dr. Roland Wong – Restore Special Diet, Raise the Rates![/url]

Monday, July 29th

8:30 AM

Where: College of Physicians and Surgeons (80 College St, just west of Bay at Elizabeth)

Dr. Roland Wong is a Toronto physician who fought for access to the Special Diet Allowance for many people across Toronto and is now facing a disciplinary hearing at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The College will be choosing how to best punish Dr. Roland Wong for daring to ensure that his patients had enough income to eat properly and stay healthy.

Sineed

Toronto doctor can't be faulted for making profit, hearing told

Quote:

A doctor providing an expert opinion at the disciplinary hearing of Dr. Roland Wong said Monday Wong shouldn’t be criticized for profiting off forms he wrote for poor people.

“Where is it written that a doctor who treats poor people shouldn’t make a ton of money?” said Philip Berger, a physician at St. Michaels Hospital. “No doctor should be faulted for that.”

<snip>

Wong has filled out more special diet forms — which give patients suffering from certain maladies extra money to buy healthy food — than any other physician in the province. Over four years, he has made some $1.8 million from the forms.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/03/26/toronto_doctor_roland_wong_ca...

Um. No.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

My only question is did poor people get an extra food ration. If they did then so what if he charged for forms. Every doctor I have been to in  the last decade charged fees for forms. If he followed the rules and poor people ate more then yes he should be supported.

That of course does not change the fact that many of the Doctor's fee schedules make some Doctor's very rich and there seems to be no logic to the multitude of schedules for various procedures. Doctors especially specialists suck the system almost dry to pay for their Mercedes and golf club memberships. 

onlinediscountanvils

That's correct, kropotkin... his assessments qualified people for a food supplement that gets tacked-on to their welfare or disability cheques. That amount varied from $10 to $250/month, depending on the diagnosis, allowing many of the province's poorest people to eat and live healthier.

The fee schedule is set by the province, not Dr. Wong, so I don't take issue with the money he made from the fees. I see it more as a reflection of how difficult it is for poor people to access healthcare. In many cases, he was the first doctor that people had seen in years. Maybe if the people of this province had better access to family doctors, dieticians, and nurse practitioners; fewer people would have had to rely on Dr. Wong to fill out their forms.

NDPP

kropotkin1951 wrote:

My only question is did poor people get an extra food ration. If they did then so what if he charged for forms. Every doctor I have been to in  the last decade charged fees for forms. If he followed the rules and poor people ate more then yes he should be supported.

 

 re: Dr Wong

They sure did. He sure should be. A true social hero. The fee was nominal, the forms complex and lengthy. and the extra money literally lifesaving to many. And there were many. No politician, least of all in Ontario and least of all among the no difference party ones, is his like to be found. Someone smart and progressive should do a book on him and his revolutionary good deeds. Bravos to Dr Wong!

 

onlinediscountanvils

This is what it looks like to recognize one's class privilege and try to use it for good.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

While profiting... Nice.

Going to have my cake and eat it, too. Cheerio.

Sineed

It is absurd that people have to present a letter from their doctors stating that they require a healthy diet in order to remain healthy. Better to eradicate this program and raise the rates for people on ODSP, using the funds previously allocated to weathy physicians. 

This is a regressive program whose administrative costs (like the exhorbitant fees doctors charge) actually take funds away from vulnerable people. It needs to be ended already.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Timebandit wrote:

While profiting... Nice. Going to have my cake and eat it, too. Cheerio.

Your business relies on lots of government film grants.  How does your cake taste this morning?

onlinediscountanvils

Sineed wrote:
It is absurd that people have to present a letter from their doctors stating that they require a healthy diet in order to remain healthy.

I agree, but that's not what this thread is about. It's in the "activism" forum ["Share strategies, calls to action, and success stories"] because its purpose was to let interested babblers in the GTA know about this event on Monday to support an ally in the anti-poverty struggle.

onlinediscountanvils

Yes, I'm sure you'd be the first person there on Monday morning, if only he had refused to accept the province's standard remuneration for filling out those forms.

Enjoy your cake, princess. Kiss

Sineed

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

While profiting... Nice. Going to have my cake and eat it, too. Cheerio.

Your business relies on lots of government film grants.  How does your cake taste this morning?

I doubt any documentary filmmakers are making profits in the millions from their government grants.

Sineed

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Sineed wrote:
It is absurd that people have to present a letter from their doctors stating that they require a healthy diet in order to remain healthy.

I agree, but that's not what this thread is about. It's in the "activism" forum ["Share strategies, calls to action, and success stories"] because its purpose was to let interested babblers in the GTA know about this event on Monday to support an ally in the anti-poverty struggle.

Fair enough. But I don't believe doctors who make profits in the millions are allies in the anti-poverty struggle.

Most of us who work in health care earn a salary or are paid by the hour. Physicians are the exception. Capitalists in our single-payor system, physicians have the opportunity to reap enormous profits by fraudulently over-billing. 

More fraudulent billing by physicians means less money for other government services.

onlinediscountanvils

Sineed wrote:
I don't believe doctors who make profits in the millions are allies in the anti-poverty struggle.

You can believe whatever you want to believe, but I think those of us who are actually poor are in a better position to judge who our true allies are.

If Dr. Wong is not an ally, all I can say is: we need more non-allies like him.

Sineed wrote:
More fraudulent billing by physicians means less money for other government services.

I guess(?), but what does that have to do with this thread? Dr. Wong is being disciplined for alleged violations of the standards of his profession. This isn't a criminal hearing. In fact, he was investigated by the police, and they found no evidence of fraud. So please don't slander him with nonsequiturs about "fraudulent billing".

Sineed

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

You can believe whatever you want to believe, but I think those of us who are actually poor are in a better position to judge who our true allies are.

If Dr. Wong is not an ally, all I can say is: we need more non-allies like him.

Doctor found guilty of professional misconduct

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/12/12/robin-hood-doctor-found-guilty-o...

"The panel heard that Dr. Wong completed more than 34,000 special diet forms over a period of several years — far more than any other physician in the province — and submitted billings to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan without confirming whether patients had the requisite medical conditions. The special diet allowance provides a maximum of $250 per month per patient. Between 2007 and 2009, Dr. Wong’s OHIP billings related to special diet allowances ranged from $418,925 to $718,026 annually."

Sineed wrote:
More fraudulent billing by physicians means less money for other government services.

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

I guess(?), but what does that have to do with this thread?

He was clearing between half a mil and a mil a year of taxpayer's money. The same pot from which ODSP, etc, is funded.

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Dr. Wong is being disciplined for alleged violations of the standards of his profession. This isn't a criminal hearing. In fact, he was investigated by the police, and they found no evidence of fraud. So please don't slander him with nonsequiturs about "fraudulent billing".

From the link above: "Of a sampling of 130 of Dr. Wong’s special diet forms, 129 identified the patients as having an allergy to egg, milk, soy and wheat, as well as chronic constipation; 96% of the forms verified conditions that would entitle patients to the maximum monthly allowance. Four medical experts testified that the likelihood of any patient suffering from all four of these allergies was highly improbable."

He was knowingly filling out the forms incorrectly, and billing for it. If anybody was eating well, it was him.

Whatever happened to, "Eat the Rich?"

NDPP

www.specialdiet.ca

"Since 2004 there have always been two budgets: One for Bay Street and one for Poor Street..."

Roland Wong MD

 

onlinediscountanvils

Sineed wrote:
He was clearing between half a mil and a mil a year of taxpayer's money. The same pot from which ODSP, etc, is funded.

That's quite the generous exaggeration of the figures that you highlighted only a few sentences earlier. $418,925 is "half a mil". $718,026 is now "a mil". LOL! If you feel that helps your point, sure, we can pretend those figures are all in the same ballpark.

Your point that his pay comes from the same pot as ODSP is only true in the sense that it's also the same pot that funds roads, the OPP, and tax credits for businesses. It's not like it's a zero-sum situation where one dollar for Dr. Wong is one dollar out of the pocket of someone living on ODSP. Surely you're not suggesting that Dr. Wong's pay is the reason people living on social assisitance have had such meager increases, because such a claim would be absurd. Oh, if only that $1.8 million over four years* had instead been allocated to the 900,000 people on OW and ODSP! Why, that's $0.50 per person, per year! Damn you, Dr. Wong! That's almost enough to buy a head of broccoli!

Sineed wrote:
If anybody was eating well, it was him.

He's a doctor. I'm sure he was eating quite well before the Special Diet campaign. It's because of him that thousands of Ontario's poorest families were able to start eating well too.

* figures that you supplied in post #2

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Yes, I'm sure you'd be the first person there on Monday morning, if only he had refused to accept the province's standard remuneration for filling out those forms.

Enjoy your cake, princess. Kiss

You know what?  I'd like to see the allowance for people on social assitance to be raised to a reasonable level. 

I'm not even going to defend against the personal attack.  I've got nothing to prove to you, the calling for cred is just another petty form of dick-measuring. 

On the other hand, if you keep the insults flying, I'm sure that's going to help your cause.  Such a clever activist - alienate the ally and support the guy bleeding the system in a way that makes the knee-jerk conservatives look for more ways to cut back.  Clever, all right - too clever by half.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

While profiting... Nice. Going to have my cake and eat it, too. Cheerio.

Your business relies on lots of government film grants.  How does your cake taste this morning?

#1 - It's not a grant.

#2 - I'm not making over $400K a year by exploiting loopholes.  If Wong was filling out the forms and only billing for some or none, he'd be making a point, what he's actually doing is gaming the system. I get paid a reasonable wage for doing my job, and I can tell you that it's a lot less than I'd make as a civil servant or unionized worker with my level of education, expertise and experience.

#3 - The broadcasters are the ones who make the most from the system that puts government money into film and tv - they don't have to pay the full cost of production for what they air and make $$ on.  You can stop slagging the filmmaker any time now.

#4 - We could end all incentive programs in our industry and you'd get to see a lot of really great American programming in place of the Canadian content out there. Congratulations, you're Steven Harper's hero.

I don't think Wong is helping the cause.  I think what he's done is provide ammunition to the other side, and with his profits I'm not sure we can be 100% sure that he isn't using the anti-poverty movement to get away with taking advantage of the system.

onlinediscountanvils

Timebandit wrote:
I'm not even going to defend against the personal attack.

Cry me a river. It's not a "personal attack" to suggest that someone who lives two provinces away was probably never going to show up for this guy's disciplinary hearing tomorrow morning, regardless of how one feels about his actions. It's pretty simple: if you don't support him, don't show up. There's no need to come into this thread about someone who's facing discipline for his real-world efforts to alleviate poverty and hunger, only to make snide comments about eating cake. That's a really shitty thing to do.

I know who my allies are. Dr. Wong is one of them. But I have my doubts about people who refuse to recognize their privilege when it's staring them right in the face.

 

Timebandit wrote:
I'm not sure we can be 100% sure that he isn't using the anti-poverty movement to get away with taking advantage of the system.

Dr. Wong got involved in this campaign because anti-poverty activists asked him. None of this was his initiative. He was responding to a cry for help from the community.

6079_Smith_W

Wow. It's Sunday Afternoon at the Opera.

You know, my first question in all this is what Dr. Wong did besides making $1.8 Million writing scrip. Presumably he lies somewhere on the line between poverty advocates and snakeheads, who it could also be argued, help those in misery even though they profit greatly from it.

Without knowing more I can't realy say, but I'd find it a bit suspicious if he didn't share some of that fortune with things like food banks, or other avenues that help people other than his clients. If he's putting away nearly two million, I'd expect extracurricular work that goes beyond showing up for photo ops.

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Without knowing more I can't realy say, but I'd find it a bit suspicious if he didn't share some of that fortune with things like food banks, or other avenues that help people other than his clients.

Quote:
“A lot of the money went back in taxes,” the 61-year-old doctor told me out front of the red brick college building. “A lot was used to buy food for people — I gave it to food banks.

The rest, he says, is going to pay his lawyers.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/10/03/porter_robin_hood_doctor_gave...

Smile

 

shartal@rogers.com

ODSP and OW rates are too low to be able to buy health food. it is even worse when there are dependant children. When people were getting the special diet their health improved. That is what matters. More money means better food and health.

I personally sent client to Dr. Wong when their own doctors would not fill in the forms. Their health improved with more money.

NDPP

A LOT of people in abject poverty got $250 extra dollars put on their table each and every month, thanks to Dr Wong. Again Bravos to him and brickbats to the naysayers who haven't the foggiest notion what they're talking about..

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Prescribing food for poor people is a good way to make a living as far as I can tell. There could be way worse ways. He could be a plastic surgeon specializing in nose jobs and he would probably make way more.  Doctor's are over paid in this country and he seems to have been making about twice the average billings so yes this was lucrative for him.

Timebandit most of your points are irrelevant to this discussion. How you get into support for the arts from my post is beyond me.  I merely pointed out that filling out government forms is a necessary part of your business exactly like this Doctor who has to fill out forms.  You are the one with no proof who is saying he is gaming the system. 

As I said in my first post the only real question is did his actions help feed people. It seems to me it is not any of our places to say that he should not bill the going rate for his time and expertise.  Would I prefer that all Canadians were altruistic and community minded? Sure but that is not the world we live in. If he was a third string NHL player he would make way more money.  Our economy is obviously rewarding the wrong people so why pick on someone who actually did some good, while making half a goons salary before expenses.

Quote:

Getting back to the other national report, compiled by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, it’s based on 2010/2011 billings. Average, fee for service payments to family doctors are $240,356 in B.C. Nationally, the figure is $241,077. The figures are for gross earnings, before overhead expenses which can take as much as 40 per cent out of the fee sum.

Medical specialists (such as internists, pediatricians, neurologists, anesthesiologists and psychiatrists) are collecting $288,532 on average in B.C., compared to the national average of $310,351. Surgical specialists in B.C. are making an average of $425,836, slightly lower than the national average of $432, 643.

Some specialists in BC are doing better than the national average; they include ear, nose and throat specialists,  opthalmologists, urologists, neurosurgeons and general surgeons.  On the flip side, B.C. heart surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons and obstetrician/ gynecologists made less than the national average.

For all kinds of specialists in B.C., average fee for service billings are about $336, 000, compared to the national average of about $352,000. About 75 per cent of doctors in B.C. bill on a fee for service basis.

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2013/01/22/what-doctors-in-b-c-and-canada-...

Quote:

Vancouver Canucks Salaries

A list of 2013-2014 Vancouver Canucks player salaries. We’ll update the NHL salaries for the Vancouver Canucks throughout the year, making changes for trades, waivers, free agent signings, etc.

http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salaries/vancouver-canucks-salaries

6079_Smith_W

I still think $1.8 million is a bit of coin. And the missing piece, as far as I can see is whether that is gross income, or net, since presumably if a large portion of it was given to food banks, then it would be deductable, not taxable. I presume his take home isn't under $100,000.

It is a fair question, even if some here seem to think it is off limits, and that anyone who dares ask it is a scrooge. And it is doubly fair since this  concerns a very bizarre way of fighting poverty, and one which never was going to work in the long term or for the wider community. Good for him for trying, but it does leave lots of questions, which hopefully will come out in this hearing.

 

 

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Timebandit wrote:
I'm not even going to defend against the personal attack.

Cry me a river. It's not a "personal attack" to suggest that someone who lives two provinces away was probably never going to show up for this guy's disciplinary hearing tomorrow morning, regardless of how one feels about his actions. It's pretty simple: if you don't support him, don't show up. There's no need to come into this thread about someone who's facing discipline for his real-world efforts to alleviate poverty and hunger, only to make snide comments about eating cake. That's a really shitty thing to do.

I know who my allies are. Dr. Wong is one of them. But I have my doubts about people who refuse to recognize their privilege when it's staring them right in the face.

Calling me "princess" is a personal attack in this context.  Lay off the name-calling.  I don't have to show you class cred to have an opinion.  And unless you know exactly who I am and all about my personal history, you don't really have the requisite knowledge to make that call.  I know exactly how much privelege I do or do not have - you, not so much. 

The rest of what you're blithering about - whether I'd be able or not to show up - has nothing to do with anything I'm talking about.

Quote:

Timebandit wrote:
I'm not sure we can be 100% sure that he isn't using the anti-poverty movement to get away with taking advantage of the system.

Dr. Wong got involved in this campaign because anti-poverty activists asked him. None of this was his initiative. He was responding to a cry for help from the community.

So you feel fairly sure, but I'm still not thoroughly convinced.  We know what he *says*, but we don't really have anything besides his word to back it up.  Just looks too good to be true, and that's usually a good indication that a further squint wouldn't be amiss.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

shartal@rogers.com wrote:

ODSP and OW rates are too low to be able to buy health food. it is even worse when there are dependant children. When people were getting the special diet their health improved. That is what matters. More money means better food and health. I personally sent client to Dr. Wong when their own doctors would not fill in the forms. Their health improved with more money.

So tell me Winston, should this Doctor donate a higher percentage of his income to food banks than other Doctors? What percentage of their income do Doctors need to donate to food banks before their fee schedule billings become acceptable?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Timebandit wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 

Timebandit most of your points are irrelevant to this discussion. How you get into support for the arts from my post is beyond me.  I merely pointed out that filling out government forms is a necessary part of your business exactly like this Doctor who has to fill out forms.  You are the one with no proof who is saying he is gaming the system. 

First of all, I responded to the implication that, as someone who works in a particular cultural industry, that I was having my cake and eating it, too.  The further implication was that it was hypocritical for me to question the motives of what looks like a sweetheart deal for Dr Wong, given that my work receives funding and policy support from federal and provincial governments.  You took us off topic by making it about me and my work (I sure didn't bring it up), I simply responded to you lack of understanding as evidenced by your comments.

"Filling out government forms" is actually kind of ludicrous.  It's actually only about a tenth of what I do to qualify for any funds originating from any government source, so the comparison is a bit of a distraction.

That said, I still have to wonder whether Wong's actions are actually helpful in anything but the short term.  I'd be delighted to see the allowances raised to a reasonable level - and clearly, nobody is arguing here that they are reasonable or that this isn't an issue that badly needs attention.  And I have to wonder how much profit is retained whether it goes in taxes or not, and if the reverberations for doctors following this course would just see departments robbing peter to pay paul instead of an overall increase, which is what the aim should be.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

...

onlinediscountanvils

Timebandit wrote:
Calling me "princess" is a personal attack in this context.

I was speaking your language, pot. Maybe you didn't recognize it because I didn't tell you to "suck it up".

Timebandit wrote:
[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/feminism/denmarks-naked-lady-tv-show#comment-140... fucking hoo.  Suck it up, princesses.[/url]

 

Timebandit wrote:
onlinediscountanvils wrote:
Dr. Wong got involved in this campaign because anti-poverty activists asked him. None of this was his initiative. He was responding to a cry for help from the community.

We know what he *says*, but we don't really have anything besides his word to back it up.

Wrong. I'm not basing this on some newspaper article. I'm basing this on my personal knowledge of the campaign as a result of being one of its organizers.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Timebandit wrote:

While profiting... Nice. Going to have my cake and eat it, too. Cheerio.

Whatever, go ahead and run from your start into the thread drift.  Your moralizing got push back, funny how that works.

I think we should support the arts but just like in the medical field our governments are going about it the wrong way. The Ontario government not only pays an obscene fee schedule to some Doctors it also pays for up to 25% of all production costs of films and it is putting BC film makers out of business.  It looks to me like we have major problems in all areas of the economy.

You can moralize about this Doctor all you want. I wonder how much of the 5.9 billion in production costs we paid to American stars to make imperial propaganda instead of feeding the hungry in Ontario.  That is truly worth supporting compared to a Doctor who made a high end salary for helping poor people eat. Cheerio to you to.

Quote:

Industry officials say B.C. is clearly losing business to Ontario and Quebec, which both offer a 25-per-cent tax credit on all production costs. B.C. offers a 33-per-cent tax credit on labour costs only.

The province’s decline comes as the total value of film and television production nationally rose by 5.6 per cent to $5.89 billion in the 2011/2012 fiscal year, according to the CMPA report.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/film+industry+fades+Ontario+jobs+surge/...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Your comment about the BC film industry is off topic, as was your original shot at me about my line of work.  It would have been nice if you had anything more than an oversimplified and poorly informed idea of how that all works, but what can you do?  Anyway, Ontario just did what BC did before that - raised their credit. And at that point, the Ontario industry was crying the blues.  They've been back and forth like this for nearly 20 years. BC's industry isn't going out of business, it's just not as flush as it once was.  Now me, I'm in Saskatchewan where they eliminated theirs - and the industry is, indeed, disappearing.

Again, back to the topic - Yes, I moralized.  I think this is a moral issue on several different levels.  How do you demand transparency and accountability when you lionize someone for doing the opposite?  Isn't it important to base action on a solid ethical base?  Isn't the fact that people are going hungry immoral in itself - so how do you right an immoral wrong through unethical means?  Or are you just allowing the self-righteous conservatives the chance to say "See? Told you they were all crooks!" 

I just don't see how that helps.

Thanks for the reminder oad - I was told not to do that anymore at around the time those comments were made, and I haven't since. I'm pretty sure I'm not important enough to have a whole set of rules just for me, so it would be nice if we all followed them, hmmmmm?

onlinediscountanvils

Timebandit wrote:
I'm pretty sure I'm not important enough to have a whole set of rules just for me, so it would be nice if we all followed them, hmmmmm?

For sure. 

onlinediscountanvils

[url=http://www.ocap.ca/node/367]Daily Bread Food Bank Endorses OCAP's Diet Supplement Campaign[/url]

May 3, 2005 Daily Bread Food Bank Foundation of Toronto

Moved by: Ken Wood

Seconded by: Erika Klein

MOTION: SUPPORTING HEALTHY FOOD DIET SUPPLEMENTS

Whereas: Canada has signed and reaffirmed the United Nations Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, which includes "the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger"; and

Whereas: The City of Toronto's Food Charter explicitly states that: "Every Toronto resident should have access to an adequate supply of nutritious, affordable and culturally-appropriate food (and) Food Security contributes to the health and well-being of residents while reducing their need for medical care"; and

Whereas: Daily Bread's own extensive surveys indicate that over 175,000 people in the Greater Toronto Area alone are forced to rely on food programs every month, and that within this group 33% say their children go hungry at least once a week because they simply cannot feed them properly even with the support of food banks; and

Whereas: Daily Bread recognizes that current Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program benefit rates are too low for recipients to adequately and nutritiously feed themselves after attending to other basic necessities such as rent and transportation costs; and

Whereas: A Special Diet Supplement exists within the Ministry of Community and Social Services to enable people to access up to $250 a month if a medical professional believes it is required to combat nutritional deficiency,

1. Daily Bread Food Bank calls upon the Ontario government to release the full special diet supplement immediately to all Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients on a permanent, ongoing basis.

2. Daily Bread Food Bank calls for the support of all medical professionals, including:

- Physicians and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario,

- Registered Nurses and the College of Nurses of Ontario,

- Registered Midwives and the College of Midwives of Ontario

- Registered Dieticians and the College of Dieticians of Ontario

to assist in the process of providing the Special Diet Supplement to all Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients.

3. Daily Bread Food Bank will sponsor special clinics to assist those in need to register for the Special Diet Supplement.

4. Daily Bread Food Bank will ensure all member agencies have necessary information packages for food bank clients to follow up.

5. Daily Bread Food Bank will offer to provide a speaker chosen at the discretion of the Executive Director at a press conference regarding this topic (date to be determined).

Motion Carried.

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin1951 wrote:

So tell me Winston, should this Doctor donate a higher percentage of his income to food banks than other Doctors? What percentage of their income do Doctors need to donate to food banks before their fee schedule billings become acceptable?

I'm just saying that $450,000 per year for one doctor for this one "treatment" seems a bit excessive, never mind that it is not sustainable, never was something that could be expanded to really solve the problem for everyone, and that sooner or later he was going to get busted.

These are fair questions. And yes, the question of whether that $1.8 is gross or net income (and that it was, in part, tax deductable) is also a fair question.

Perhaps the doctor did a good thing here, and hopefully that will be found out during this process. But this never was a proper solution to the problem; My concern is more whether some change will come with respect to poverty. What happens to this doctor depends on the answers to questions which have not yet been answered, IMO.

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Good for him for trying

6079_Smith_W wrote:
sooner or later he was going to get busted

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Perhaps the doctor did a good thing here

Just to be clear, Dr. Wong was not the only doctor or medical professional involved in this campaign, but he is the one who's been singled-out as the scapegoat. There were other doctors, nurses, midwives, and dieticians who were signing people up using the exact same criteria, and under the exact same circumstances as Dr. Wong.

You make it sound as if he dreamed-up this strategy and was doing this all on his own. Nothing could be further from the truth. IIRC, it was street nurses who got the ball rolling, and put the call out to other medical professionals. Dr. Wong was just one of many who answered that call to do something to address the crisis of poverty that we were facing (and still are) in this province.

Sineed

So if he's such a great humanitarian, why didn't he fill out the forms for free instead of defrauding the taxpayers? 

I'm coming from the perspective of an Ontario civil servant who also helps the poor, but I make less than one tenth of what Dr. Wong does. It'd be more credible if he was someone like me, on a fixed salary, who did these things above and beyond the call, rather than someone who enormously profited.

Quote:
Just to be clear, Dr. Wong was not the only doctor or medical professional involved in this campaign, but he is the one who's been singled-out as the scapegoat.

So there may have been tens of millions of of dollars' worth of fraudulent billings to OHIP. Again, it doesn't take a medical professional to declare that people need to eat healthy in order to be healthy. To be fair, Dr. Wong isn't to blame for the wrong-headed policy-making, but he sure as hell profited from it. And then he gets to be a hero as well. 

This whole campaign smells like a ploy by well-paid lawyers rather than a genuine grass-roots effort.

shartal@rogers.com

Dr. Wong was part of a very broad campaign to get ODSP and ow clients onto the Special Diet allowance. Health Care providers against poverty, Community Health Centres, some unions, legal clinics, psy. Survivor organizations, churchs and, yes, OCAP, and others.
.
There are thousands of pages of documentation. CBC interviews, pu listed articles. Etc. I tried to litigate the special diet cuts as a Human Right violation and personally received 14,000 pages of disclosure.

Dr. Wong particularly focused on helping single mothers with children and immigrants.

Most doctors who participated tried to side step publicity. Only Dr Wong and Dr. Gary Block took on media reviews but Dr. Wong also assessed thousands of individual applicants.

onlinediscountanvils

Sineed wrote:
why didn't he fill out the forms for free

Probably for the same reason that most people don't do professional work for free.

Sineed wrote:
instead of defrauding the taxpayers

He didn't. Why do you insist on this libel?

Sineed wrote:
So there may have been tens of millions of of dollars' worth of fraudulent billings to OHIP.

No. Do you even understand what his charges were? They had nothing to do with fraud. He was found to have engaged in professional misconduct by his professional organization - not fraud. I'll repeat: the police investigated his practice, and found no evidence of fraud, and no basis for laying charges.

Quote:
This whole campaign smells like a ploy by well-paid lawyers rather than a genuine grass-roots effort.

Wow. All I can say is that it's clear that you and some of the others commenting in this thread really have no clue what you're talking about with respect to this campaign. It would be great if the groups involved in this campaign could afford a team of "well-paid lawyers", but then, if we had had that kind of money we'd have probably found other uses for it.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Actually, lawyers (not all, but some) will do professional work free of charge. They call it "pro bono". I also know accountants who will provide either special rates or donate services to charities and nonprofits. So I don't think it's strictly true that professionals don't ever provide services free of charge.

Bacchus

Not to mention if his patients did NOT have the ailmentsd he put on the forms, then yes he was defrauding the taxpayer, regardless of the goodness of his heart or cause.

6079_Smith_W

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

You make it sound as if he dreamed-up this strategy and was doing this all on his own.

Well no actually, because I DON'T know that, and I didn't say it.

My question is about the amount of money he is alleged to have earned from this. Is it a smear campaign? Is it true? If it is true then it's hardly the most efficient way to get food to the hungry, and as I said, it is not something that would be sustainable in the long term. That is even more true if it were fifty doctors doing it.

I don't particularly care to see this doctor pilloried, but $450,000 per year for one kind of prescription seems like a hell of a lot and while you might not be interested, there are a lot who rightly are. And as I said, my main interest is in whether this blowup will result in a longer lasting and more appropriate way of getting the same food to people. Because the health system is NOT the best way to do it, especially if the single biggest benefactor  is a doctor who pockets millions of dollars, whether he is a saint or not.

 

 

onlinediscountanvils

Timebandit wrote:
Actually, lawyers (not all, but some) will do professional work free of charge. They call it "pro bono". I also know accountants who will provide either special rates or donate services to charities and nonprofits. So I don't think it's strictly true that professionals don't ever provide services free of charge.

Of course. That's why I didn't say "professionals don't ever provide services free of charge". I'm well aware of the exceptions. But most professionals expect to be paid for their labour, most of the time. If some choose not to, great. But I don't think anyone should feel obligated to volunteer their labour. I really don't think the idea that it's reasonable for people to be paid for their labour should be seen as controversial on a pro-labour message board.

6079_Smith_W

$1.8 million over four years ODA - for one type of perscription.

If it's true, then that's a bit beyond defending a fellow for drawing a decent pay cheque.It is an amount that, if every doctor were to practice it, or if it were to become the standard way of righting this wrong, would entirely crash the system and see most of the funding go to millionaires.

 

 

shartal@rogers.com

For the record, the special diet form was 3 pages long and required a full patient interview. It was not a pscription but an application for a benefit created statute. However like a number of additional statutory benefits the uptake (number of people applying for the benefit) was significantly smaller than the expected population.

Applications grew rapidly after a research person from a downtown Toronto health centre read the regulation in detail and sent a memo out to the broader community.

In the disclosure I received there were policy branch estimates that 65,000 benefit recipients might be entitled to the benefit. It he total uptake never got to 65,000.

However the blowback from using an under accessed benefit is similar to what the rhetoric around UIC. Similar but not identical. In Ontario the same thing happened when the total number of OW and ODSP recipients began increasingly to apply for a housing benefit called the Community Start UP allowance. Recipients used this money to replace bedbug infested items and to pay moving costs. Use went up and government responded by repealing the provision. They did the same thing with a small allowance for fans or air conditioners that was important for seniors and people taking psychiatric medication who live I rooming houses and small shut in apartments.

Ontario's Social programs look good on paper but are not really intended to be used.

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
it's hardly the most efficient way to get food to the hungry

On paper, you're absolutely right - it's not the most efficient way to feed the hungry. I don't know anyone who ever claimed that it was.

But this campaign took place in the real world. It was launched after a decade in which people on social assistance lost 40% through the initial Harris cuts, and subsequent years of freezes. It was launched after the Tories were replaced by the "kinder, gentler" Liberals, who quickly made it known that they had no intention of restoring what was cut by their predecessors. It's not as if people hadn't been trying to address the crisis through more orthodox methods for years. People had been fighting, but nothing was working. We were only losing ground with each passing year.

The Special Diet campaign changed all that. It was - and still is - the only substantial increase that people on social assistance and disabilty have seen in two decades. Despite the best efforts of all the campaigns that came before it, the Special Diet campaign was the only one that succeeded in putting more money in people's pockets [Here, I'll do it for you: "Yeah, Dr. Wong's pockets! Amirite?"], and more food on people's tables to any significant degree.

It's all well and good for people to say, "I really do wish they'd raise the rates", but we can't eat your wishes. Nobody is sheltered by your sincere hope that someday the premier will have a change of heart.

If you think you have better solutions, by all means, try them. But until someone proves that they have a better way to improve the lives and the health of Ontario's poor, it's hard to see most of this criticism as much more than concern trolling.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
if every doctor were to practice it, or if it were to become the standard way of righting this wrong, would entirely crash the system and see most of the funding go to millionaires.

Again, you're talking about this as if it's all happening in a theoretical world. You realize that there isn't an endless supply of welfare recipients, right. There's approximately 76 people on social assisitance for every family practitioner in the province. If every family doctor in the province made a concerted effort to cash in by signing-up every single Ontarian on social assistance, averaged out, they'd each make an additional $4560, assuming they all billed for the maximum amount. Your doomsday scenario can't happen in the real world because the doctors would quickly run out of people to sign-up.

The reason Dr. Wong was able to fill out so many forms was because he was in the minority of doctors who was actually interested in doing that work, and he was willing to put in the time and effort. As shartal said, many doctors wouldn't fill out the forms. Most doctors had never even seen them, let alone understood what they were for. They were only relevant to a small, marginalized, stigmatized portion of the population; so many doctors couldn't even be bothered with educating themselves about the special diet.

[cross-posted with shartal@rogers.com]

6079_Smith_W

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

it's hard to see most of this criticism as much more than concern trolling.

Nonsense.

I think I have given this doctor plenty of leeway in my comments, including questioning if this million-dollar figure is in fact real - another reason why I think it best to bring it out in the open.

It is an outrageous amount of money for one person to be pulling down - even for a service like this.  And if we want to throw stones about theory and the real world I don't think we have to look any further than your labour solidarity argument, or the notion that it is justified by him having to fill out paperwork - something that many people do for nothing as volunteers.

Sorry, but this is a terrible way of righting a wrong that amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul, and makes a mockery of the medical profession. No this doctor doesn't necessarily need to be punished, but both the high wage and the fact he has to in some cases lie in order to get food to people points to the fact that this is a bad way of doing things that needs to change.

Whether that change happens is of great concern. What is to happen to this doctor is another question.

(edit)

According to this Dr. Wong stopped billing after he got busted:

http://www.specialdiet.ca/

Good, though again, it doesn't change the question of whether this is the best and broadest way to do this. Yes it highlights the fact that people are starving on social assistance, but it is unlikely to help someone in Kenora, or anyplace where a willing doctor cannot be found.

 

Unionist

I think it's offensive and wrongheaded to single out Dr. Wong for making lots of money given the cause he was personally engaged in. (Sorry Sineed, TB, others.) There are many more suitable targets, inside and outside the medical profession, among those who screw poor people and make fortunes out of helping out the rich.

I'm not entirely sure what the particulars of the charges were against him. Too much noise over "rich doctors" in the above posts to get a clear idea. Is he being charged with filling out detailed forms for people who weren't his regular patients, and therefore he didn't have proper professional knowledge of them? Is he being charged with just rubber-stamping forms for people who say, "I'm lactose intolerant", without applying detailed diagnostic methods? I find it hard to believe he's being charged for getting rich, because that's not considered "unprofessional" in our society.

But here's my real question:

The disciplinary hearings seem to have finished in April 2012. What happened?? And why are we waiting for something in July 2013??

Sorry if I missed something or read everything all wrong...

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