BC Medical Assn says ADHD Costing BC 500 Million Yearly. (Actually It’s Billions) Asks Govt to Improve Access to Care for ADHD Patients

UPDATE: the 500 million figure is incorrect, it’s actually Billions of dollars yearly. The BCMA underestimated the cost because they only counted the cost of children with ADHD ie 18 and under. They didn’t include adults with ADHD which are far more numerous than kids with ADHD, i.e., 19 years to 70, 80 etc. See page 7, 3rd paragraph of the report. Or read full text here

So it’s costing BC MULTIPLE BILLIONS of Dollars Annually to deal with ADHD and the actual treatment cost is the smallest amount, and many are undiagnosed and untreated.

Finally. Finally. Still can’t believe it was written. Thought BC would remain the Canadian equivalant of Mississippi in terms of how they treat or ignore adults and children with ADHD. I.e., in last place.

Here’s the BCMC news release from February 23, 2009 BCMA recommends improved access to treatement for ADHD

Here’s the February 2009 – BCMA Policy Paper – Your Attention, Please: A Call to Improve Access to Care for ADHD Patients It’s a 16 pages, conclusions, are on page 14 and I’ve pasted their 8 recommendations in below. I agree with all of them especially requiring the govt to treat adults with ADHD and it should have been done 20 years ago. The chair was Dr. Shelly Ross who is a GP in Burnaby.

But if you live in BC and have ADHD or have friends/family members or relatives with ADHD you should read all 16 pages and pass it around to as many people as you can.

I think it’s the most important document ever written on ADHD in BC, period.

The Vancouver Sun covered the story yesterday Feb 24th on p A5 and in their online edition, I was quoted by the reporter Amy O’ Brian. If you think it’s an important story, leave a comment on their site (or here) telling them why this report’s recommendations should be implemented or what’s it like being an adult with ADHD. You don’t have to use your full name.

You might consider writing a letter to your local paper, call in to your local talk show, leave a comment on your local blog about it, or tweet it, mention it on facebook etc. There’s a BC election in May. I’d also suggest contact your MLA as well as the various opposition parties about it and ask them if they agree with and will implement all 8 suggestions. Not just “we’ll study it”. As a political science major, I know governments often respond to public pressure. If ADDers and their family don’t bother to do so no one will, and we won’t get a better chance than this, possible not for a decade.

I’ll list some ways to contact politicians and the media after the recommendations and will blog about the policy document later. Here’s a few excerpts from the report.

In Canada, it takes more than 18 months for a patient with ADHD to be treated after first contact with a physician. Once diagnosed, only half of children and as few as 11% of adults receive treatment. As the waitlist for the BC Children’s Hospital ADHD Clinic shows, demand for such services greatly exceeds supply.

Taking into account the direct health, education, and justice-related costs associated with ADHD, the total costs to the government of British Columbia may exceed $500 million each year – enough money to pay for nearly half of BC’s $1.061 billion PharmaCare budget or more than all of the Ministry’s capital plan budget for 2008/09 (Ministry of Health 2008).

This policy paper on ADHD will propose ways to improve access to care for patients with ADHD. The first section begins by reviewing the economic and social costs of the disorder, followed by an examination of provincial policy and the delivery of care in British Columbia. The paper continues with a discussion of quality of care issues and concludes with recommendations for government and other health care stakeholders.

Simply writing a prescription for ADHD is woefully insufficient care, and practice guidelines universally acknowledge that treatment of ADHD with medication must be accompanied by psychoeducation about the disorder, appropriate environmental accommodations, and behavioural intervention. Prescription of medication without additional support has been shown to be associated with poor compliance, persistence and community-based outcomes. Within a year, almost 50% of parents discontinue their children’s medication.

BC Medical Associations’s List of Recommendations

1. The provincial government must restructure the Child and Youth Mental Health Network so that it meets more frequently, is supported with an adequate budget, and is responsible for producing tangible outputs outlined in a publicly-available strategic plan.

2. The provincial government should work with stakeholders to ensure that any new child mental health plan includes a strategic plan for the delivery of services specifically for patients with ADHD.

3. The provincial government must provide services for adults with ADHD and follow-up services for children who graduate from the ADHD clinic at age 18.

4. Funding for ADHD services should be increased to guarantee waitlists of less than three months for all ADHD patients.

5. A billing fee for consulting with third parties, such as teachers, should be added to the BCMA Fee Guide to encourage optimal coordination with teachers in the diagnosis and management of ADHD.

6. Medical professional associations for pediatrics, child psychiatry, psychiatry, neurology, and family practice should endorse the Canadian Attention Deficit Disorder Resource Alliance (CADDRA) ADHD practice guidelines; and click on Guidelines top link or review, amend, and then endorse revised CADDRA guidelines. Such guidelines should be accompanied by the implementation, in primary care offices across British Columbia, of a ‘diagnostic toolkit’ for ADHD.

7. PharmaCare should expand coverage for long-acting ADHD medication in order to facilitate compliance, minimize stigma and prevent missed opportunities for focused learning.

8. In order to improve access to services for ADHD patients and foster the kind of collaborative care arrangements necessary to provide optimal care, both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Children and Family Development should train specialized ADHD clinicians for mental health teams and provide BC families access to community services to complement treatment by physicians.

I have been trying to get the word out on ADHD and why ADHD adults and children should get diagnosis and treatment for years. This report and the upcoming provincial election is our best shot to make a difference for people with ADHD and their family members.

If you want change, now’s the time to take action.
BC Minister of Health Services is George Abbott now Margaret MacDiarmid
Ministers direct phone # 250 953-3547
Toll-free in B.C.: 1 800 465-4911

Here’s some helpful tips on writing a letter to the editor and a list of BC based newspapers websites and editor email addresses courtesy BC Liberal Party

Here’s a list of BC based talk radio shows with phone numbers, host names, times and online comments

I‘ll be blogging about the report in detail later in another post. I’ve asked the BC NDP, the BC liberal minister of health’s office and the Green party for comment. I’ve already got a response from the BC Liberals, they’re quicker than the other two. When I phoned the BC NDP party, I talked to a legislative assistant to MLA’s and said I was a blogger who would like to hear the NDP’s official position on the BCMA 8 recommendations, the NDP staffer said “what’s a blogger?” Wow. Not impressed. Maybe she should read this Obama McCain social media scorecard post or this Vancouver civic election social media scorecard post I did to see why social media is important in politics.

What do you think of the BCMA’s 8 ADHD recommendations?

18 thoughts on “BC Medical Assn says ADHD Costing BC 500 Million Yearly. (Actually It’s Billions) Asks Govt to Improve Access to Care for ADHD Patients”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *