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The Ontario Medical Review Committee

Posted 12 April 2003, 4.33 am by hoodedfreak

Welland, Ontario, 2002. Dr. Anthony Hsu is one of two pediatricians working a heavily populated region struggling to attract doctors. He works a 70-hour work week, has 7000 active patients, is on call at the hospital every other day and every other weekend and all the
while struggles to maintain the required paperwork for OHIP: Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Sometime in late 2002 Dr Hsu is audited by OHIP, who suspect he is ordering too many tests and seeing too many patients. They look at his files and deem he is not taking enough notes during examinations. He is red flagged. The amount he is audited: $108,162. One hundred and eight thousand one hundred sixty-two dollars.

And no cents.

Dr Hsu appeals to the local newspaper who run his story. The local community is shocked and outraged when they hear he had no choice other than to cash in his RRSPs to pay the amount to OHIP. He joins other doctors around the province and attends rallies, protests, railing against the intimidation methods of the Medical Review committee.

Why didn't he appeal? Because he is guilty until proven innocent. Appealing the auditing ruling means OHIP deducts $108,162 from his billings during the next year. He has a family. 3 children. An office staff to pay. Taxes. Can he afford to take a pay cut of $108,162?

The chairman of the Medical Review Committee, Dr. Barney Giblon, believes it is a fair and just system, returning millions of tax dollars. Is returning millions of dollars to the heavily lined pockets of over paid politicians more important than a doctor's respect, livelihood, and most importantly, his life?

I quote Dr. Giblon, "I feel bad for those small numbers of people [who] feel so upset by having their records checked, but I would like to point out that 20 per cent of those investigated [aren't required to] pay anything back."

But those who are range in numbers from $200,000 to $800,000. A world-renowned specialist in Ontario was charged $800,000 in his audit review. That's his salary for 4 years. Every year they would take away 100% of his salary.

See you at McDonalds.

But this is fair. This is the medical justice system in Ontario.

* * *

8 am. Saturday morning on April 5th, 2003. Dr. Anthony Hsu leaves his house, despondent, and by 5 pm is reported as missing. The police ask the public for information.

By Monday morning, he's still missing, but by now they have found his car parked in Vineland, a small town near the shores of Lake Ontario. His car was unlocked, unoccupied, with the keys dangling in the ignition.

Late afternoon of April 10th, a fisherman finds a body in Lake Ontario.

This is a fair process.

on 12 April 2003, 10.09 am
So it's not a fair process. Rather than just reporting facts (albiet facts that do inspire thought) an expanded opinion would flesh this out more, leaving more than just another bitter taste to be experienced.

on 12 April 2003, 4.55 pm
Hey Katie, nice to see you posting!

I'm very sorry about your doctor. It is terrible news. With enough public outcry, maybe this sort of thing won't happen again.

on 12 April 2003, 7.39 pm
I think the facts speak for themselves, winter. It's enough that she communicates this tragedy to others.

on 12 April 2003, 8.26 pm
Right, it's enough, but something more would be nice. A condemnation of the facts of a bureaucracy’s fucking things up is just a little... eh, what do i know. Maybe I just want things to be theory intesive or for answers or deeper explanation to be offered.

on 12 April 2003, 9.25 pm
similar things happen here in the united states though - doctors have gone on strike because their medical malpractice insurance costs up to half of what they earn every year.

i'd say that things like this are result of a litigious society, and unfortunately, we can't take away people's right to sue.

on 14 April 2003, 7.11 am
Thanks marilee, and thank you Acheron.

Winter: You very much have a point, this isn't any fleshed out piece, which was why I was hesitant to post it. I'm very deeply connected to these events right now, so much so that I found myself numb and in shock. I was in such an odd emotional state that I wrote this piece, which on another plane, I believe speaks for the human emotional state. I could not flesh out any theories or any deeper meaning because if I started, it would either turn into a 3 year old's tantrum of "It's not fair" or a rant that just wouldn't be worth it. I decided instead to shut everything down and just state the facts.

That's my deeper meaning. Conditioning oneself in a time of mourning.

on 14 April 2003, 2.58 pm
Hi Katie. I love ya. That was great. The end.

on 14 April 2003, 8.45 pm
sometimes, all you need is facts. there comes a certain point in debating where emotion should be left out, because you get too involved, and it looks like a sign of weakness. while katie is deeply shocked and numbed by this piece, she's still reeling, emotionally. to get the point across, all you need is facts. as long as you have a heart, you can flesh out the article on your own, with your own sense of outrage and sadness.

on 15 April 2003, 12.12 am
No one was more honourable, well-intentioned, and competent than Dr. Hsu. Our family is terribly upset over his death but outraged over the circumstances that contributed to it. My children are grown but went to Dr. Hsu for the entire childhoods; they can vouch for the fact that he spent more than sufficient time with them to diagnose and treat their ailments and to ensure that they grew up healthy and happy. What a travesty that he felt so despondent and without hope that he killed himself. He was much loved by his many patients and their families.

on 15 April 2003, 12.36 am
The medical review commitee is wrong here. This is not a fair process. I have to question how they can "review" a doctor that works in an understaffed area for billing more than average. Dr. Giblon needs a dose of reality (or maybe this event happening to him) before he'll understand what the problem is.

Katie, I hope that you feel better. My sympathies to you, and to the family of Dr. Hsu.

on 15 April 2003, 10.25 pm
I'm wondering...Did they identify the body as Dr. Hsu's? I had heard they found a body, but I didn't know it had been positively identified.

Dr. Hsu was my son's pediatrician as well...He was a wonderful person. I'm deeply saddened, and equally outraged, by these events.

on 19 April 2003, 1.39 am
Hi Katie ..i'm also very saddened by what had happen to Dr. Hsu for he was my pediatrician and i had such a great expirence with him as a child i never forgot him and wanted my child to have him also...she got to know him for 1 year. I was very sicken to know what the goverment has done to our doctor and other doctors...I hope that our province will fight for our doctors and find a way to stop this crap or we will lose more good doctors. Any way i just had to ven a little...i just cant seem to accept the fact of what had happend.

on 25 April 2005, 4.35 am
I just wanted to say that Dr Hsu was my Dr aswell as my sister, brother and daughter. It's a sin what the government did to him since I beleive they killed him, this never would have happened had they not audited him. I beleive in my heart that he was truthful in his billing and I hope that eventually there will be some kind of justice for his family. Until that time, Dr Hsu & family will remain in my prayers.

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