Government cuts to medical services hurting patients

TORONTO, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ - The next round of government cuts to medical services begin today – cuts that will make it harder for Ontario's doctors to treat their patients.

If your brother has diabetes, he might also have eye damage, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Today, treating complex patients like him is going to get more difficult. Among the government cuts being imposed April 1, is one specific to chronic disease that recognized your brother and patients like him require more comprehensive care and more time to properly treat him and keep him out of hospital.

"Ontario's Doctors are doing everything they can to limit the negative impact the government's cuts are having on patients, but the government is planning to cut almost $1.5 billion from medical services in less than five years. How can that not have an impact?" says Dr. Ved Tandan, President, Ontario Medical Association. "They're limiting the way new family physicians can practice, cutting fees to specialists who provide comprehensive care to complex patients, and putting an arbitrary limit on the number of services doctors can provide to patients in Ontario by placing a hard cap on the Physician Services Budget. This is not responsible or sustainable."

On Jan. 15, the Ontario Medical Association Board unanimously rejected the government's final offer because it would hurt patients. The government immediately moved forward with imposing cuts to medical services offered by physicians based on that offer. The first of these cuts took effect on Feb. 1 with the next round coming into effect today.

The OMA did make a counteroffer to freeze physician's fees for two years if the government funded the growth in the health care system from a growing and aging population, which requires more complex care.

After more than two months of the government's unwillingness to discuss this counteroffer and with patients feeling the negative impact of the government's cuts, the OMA Board decided last week to pursue other options to find a way to resolve this conflict.  As a result, the OMA is exploring legal options.

These options will be discussed in detail at the beginning of May when 300 physician leaders gather for OMA Council.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: Danielle Milley, Senior Advisor Media Relations, 416-599-2580 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 3008 or danielle.milley@oma.org; OMA Media Relations: 416-340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862, media@oma.org

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