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Ford government poised to dissolve regional health agencies, sources say

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In what would be its first major move to restructure Ontario’s health system, the Doug Ford government is considering a sharp cut to the bureaucracies that are supposed to co-ordinate health care services at the local level.

CBC News has learned that the PCs are taking aim at the province’s 14 local health integration networks (LHINs).

According to multiple sources connected to government and the health care sector, the provincial government is looking at dissolving the LHINs and replacing them with no more than five regional oversight bodies that would monitor spending by hospitals and long-term care homes.

The LHINs oversee nearly $30 billion in annual operating funding that is funnelled from the health ministry to hospitals, long-term care homes and community health centres. They are also the first point of contact for patients who want to get publicly funded home care or a spot in a provincial nursing home.

They were created in 2007 by former premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government. Their mandate was to improve the integration of local health care services.

“By any objective measure, that has failed to occur,” a senior official in the health sector said Wednesday.

Dissolving the LHINs “really makes sense,” the official said. “They have gummed up the wheels terribly” by micro-managing health care providers.

Premier Doug Ford, centre, Health Minister Christine Elliott, right, and Dr. Rueben Devlin, left, chair of the Premier’s Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

“It is a bureaucracy that has failed at what it was set up to do,” said another source close to the government. “It has slowed down care for patients.”

The source said the LHINs are a “very expensive oversight body” that add another layer of administration between health care providers and patients but do not make the system work more effectively.

“Have they made it easier for anybody to navigate care? No,” the source said.

It costs about $90 million a year to operate the LHINs, according to a recent auditor general report.

The sources could not estimate how much the government would save by collapsing them. However, some of them said the potential for making the system function better for patients would outweigh the cost savings.

The LHIN changes are expected to be just one step in a major overhaul of health care administration. More reforms will come from recommendations by the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine, chaired by Rueben Devlin, the longtime CEO of Humber River Hospital.

Five independent sources told CBC News the LHINs will be reformed. Two of the sources said the government plans to eliminate the LHINs altogether, while the others said they would be replaced by five regional oversight bodies.

CBC News contacted spokespeople for Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott for official comment on Wednesday but did not receive a response.

Multiple sources tell CBC News the Ford government is looking at dissolving the LHINs and replacing them with no more than five regional oversight bodies that would monitor spending by hospitals and long-term care homes. (CBC)

This year, $28.5 billion flows from the health ministry through the LHINs to local hospitals, long-term care homes and other institutional health providers. The LHINs are responsible for monitoring how that money is spent. Contracts called “accountability agreements” lay out the services the hospitals and long-term care homes must provide in exchange for the funding.

In her 2015 annual report, the province’s auditor general found that none of the LHINs had ever met all 15 of the health ministry’s performance targets, such as wait times for surgery, MRI scans and emergency room visits.

The LHINs became the administrative body for home care in 2017 when the Wynne government shut down the province’s community care access centres (CCACs) in the wake of another critical auditor general’s report.

The umbrella group representing hospitals urged the government on Tuesday to cut out the LHINs from home care administration.

“We think one of the areas that has the most promise in terms of reform and improving the way the health system operates is in overhauling Ontario’s broken home-care system,” said Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, in a pre-budget submission to a legislative committee at Queen’s Park.

“We think it’s now time to allow hospitals and home-care providers to work directly together without a third-party intermediary,” Dale said.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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