Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, June 23, 2005

MRIs in Canada - -
More Bureaucratic Inefficiency

From The National Post ($ required, link courtesy of Jack):

Some Ontario hospitals are operating their magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines at only 40% of capacity even as thousands of sick people languish on waiting lists for the much-needed diagnostic scans, according to a new study obtained by CanWest News Service.

“What it means is that for the hours they [MRI machines] are working, they are not putting through a big volume of patients,” the author of the government-commissioned report, Dr. Anne Keller, said in an interview. “I was amazed at how inefficient some places were.”

Dr. Keller said that while lack of funding or personnel shortages are major reasons for the inefficiencies, there are also situations where there “is not optimal business management.”

Dr. Keller’s report, commissioned by the province’s Wait Time Strategy agency, is the most comprehensive examination of MRI and CT utilization ever undertaken in Ontario.
At the same time, the department of defence is sending soldiers to private clinics for MRIs [See The National Post, June 21, Canada, page 8, subscription required]:

The Department of National Defence spent $1.3-million last year to send military personnel to private clinics for MRI exams and other diagnostic tests, newly released documents show.

The Canadian Forces can legally use private clinics, where waiting times for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests are measured in hours, not weeks, because it operates its own health system outside of the Canada Health Act.

For more on the use of private health care by the military and by the RCMP, see this.

My prediction: the gubmnt will insist on inserting yet another layer of oversight bureaucrats to increase the capacity utilitization of Ontario's MRI machines.

My solution: privatize MRI and CT clinics. Let private entrepreneurs determine the optimal rate of capital utilization. Private MRI and CT clinics are in plazas and mini-malls in many cities in the United States on a nearly walk-in basis. They have considerably lower waiting times than we have in Ontario, and, as I posted earlier, they even advertise in Canada for clients.
Who Links Here