TORONTO, June 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors are concerned that
planned refugee health cuts will impact the delivery of care and
increase provincial health costs.
Under the new Interim Federal Health Program rules, the federal
government will no longer cover health care for certain refugee
categories, even if the patient is pregnant, diabetic or having a heart
attack. This will result in dangerous health complications, but also
transfer the burden of paying for this care to the province, the
treating hospital or the emergency physician who sees these patients.
Regardless of the new policy, if a patient goes to the Emergency
Department with a heart attack, they will still be treated. It's just
that the federal government will no longer pay for that treatment, and
it also appears that they are getting out of the business of providing
care that may actually prevent that heart attack in the first place.
The OMA supports the position of national physicians' groups and allied
health organizations who have asked the federal government to take
another look at these new rules. The OMA also urges the provincial
government to weigh in on how these changes will impact the provincial
delivery of health care services.
Ontario's doctors are especially concerned that:
The lack of drug coverage now, will result in more serious health
complications later, and with them, an increased cost of treatment;
Physicians who suspect a communicable disease, like tuberculosis, are
being asked to perform diagnostic tests to determine if there is a
threat of public infection, but the government will only pay for these
tests if the results come back positive;
The new rules for different classes of refugees and limiting coverage to
new definitions of what is medically urgent or essential, questions
physicians' judgement and confounds the delivery of care.
The OMA stresses that a physician's expertise is to offer treatment
tailored to the medical condition of the patient before them, not at
categorizing patients and their potential illnesses based on their
The changes to the Interim Federal Health Program are to come into
effect on June 30, through an Order in Council. Physicians in several
parts of Canada are participating in a Day of Action on June 18, to
protest these changes.
"It appears that those who are sick are being dissuaded from seeking
medical treatment, and physicians are being encouraged not to perform
tests on patients suspected of having a communicable disease. We need
clarification, because that cannot be the intended outcome."
"The proposed policies are medically impractical and could cause
considerable harm. We need the federal and provincial governments to
ensure that any changes to refugee health policies don't put patients
Dr. Doug Weir
Ontario Medical Association
SOURCE Ontario Medical Association
For further information:
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OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or
toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862