Wilson to McGuinty: Return Lab to Stayner or Cut LifeLabs funding
(December 9, 2010) Jim Wilson continued his pursuit for a permanent re-opening of medical laboratories in Stayner and Elmvale today. In Question Period, the Simcoe-Grey MPP zeroed in on the Stayner closure and LifeLabs decision to put cash before patients.
“Minister, it’s about time that your government started dealing with lab companies who understand rural Ontario and care about our constituents,” said Wilson about LifeLabs in his question to the Minister of Health. The MPP was referencing a phone call last Friday where LifeLabs confirmed they have no intention of re-opening their Stayner location on a permanent basis.
Wilson told the Minister about his offices phone call with Monette Greenway, LifeLabs Vice President for Government Relations. “When we asked about seniors on fixed incomes who now have to pay $80 to go from Creemore to Wasaga Beach and back just to get their blood checked, Ms. Greenway said they can’t worry about every patient.”
The former Health Minister says LifeLabs has a near monopoly on diagnostic and clinical testing in Ontario through licenses they receive from the Ontario government. The company relies on tax dollars to stay in business since taxpayers are their only customers.
“Since LifeLabs is unwilling to commit to keep their Stayner location open on a permanent basis, will you show some leadership and revoke their license, take the money you were spending in Stayner and give it to another lab company who will do the job right,” asked Wilson.
The local MPP also referenced a speech where April Gamache, LifeLabs Vice President of Operations, was listed on the program as giving a speech in Atlanta last year on how to find “substantial cost savings” at a conference where the first three words on the flyer reads: “Cash is King.”
The Ontario government will spend $640.9 million on community laboratories for 2009-10. A large portion of those tax dollars goes directly to LifeLabs to provide medical laboratory services for Ontario families. Wilson says those dollars are supposed to support families in Clearview Township and Elmvale too.