Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | April 13, 2018
  • More Canadians are getting joint replacements and cataract surgery, but they’re also waiting longer for the procedures than three years ago, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Meanwhile, waits for more urgent procedures such as hip-fracture repair and radiation therapy have held steady.
  • Health Canada warned that there’s a shortage of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr epinephrine auto-injectors, with limited inventory still available in pharmacies. There are no alternative auto-injectors for anaphylaxis available in Canada.
  • British Columbia has been fined 16 years in a row for illegal extra billing by physicians and clinics in the province, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix.  However, a proposed federal law may see provinces partly reimbursed for such fines if they crackdown on extra billing.
  • The federal and Ontario governments each committed $5 million to create new mental wellness teams for First Nations communities. The teams will be located across the province to ensure access for all First Nations communities.
  • Saskatchewan’s government will invest a record $5.77 billion to improve health care under a new budget. This includes $284 million for mental health, as well as $2.8 million for individualized supports for children with autism under age six.
  • Quebec will create a provincial access committee to improve health care for English speakers in the province.  Access committees have been around since the 1980s but advocates say they have been gutted by recent health reforms.
  • British Columbia families of people with drug addictions say the health system shuts them out of their loved ones’ treatment. In a new report, six advocacy groups urged the province to establish family support groups and revise policies that exclude them from care.
  • Quebec became the first province in Canada to cover the full cost of breast prosthetics for cancer patients who have undergone complete or partial mastectomies. The program will allow women to replace the prosthetics every two years and is expected to cost $3.6 million per year.
  • Albertans can expect to see increased rates of injury after recreational cannabis becomes legal, according to a University of Alberta study of more than a decade of data from American jurisdictions where the drug is legal. Researchers found that rates of traffic fatalities from impaired driving, poisoning, and burns increased following legalization of marijuana.
  • Brian Day’s constitutional challenge to medicare is returning to court after long delays. The trial will test whether laws restricting extra billing for medically necessary services violate Canadians’ charter rights.

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