TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2011 /CNW/ - According to a survey of rehabilitation
providers in Ontario, people injured in a motor vehicle accident are
now worse off as a result of the Liberal government's changes to the
auto insurance system last September.
The survey, conducted by the Alliance of Community Medical and
Rehabilitation Providers, found a number of troubling developments in
the way accident victims are now being handled.
"We were shocked by how quickly these negative trends have worked
through the system and the degree to which services and benefits have
eroded," said Nick Gurevich, President of the Alliance.
The survey found:
A significant increase in the number of accident victims who are running
out of benefits before they are fully recovered - A majority of providers say at least half of their clients will now
run out of benefits (vs. 10% or fewer of their clients a year ago).
Health care service denials have escalated - More than two-thirds of providers say insurers are now denying 30% or
more of assessment and treatment plan requests (vs. a denial rate of
10% or less a year ago).
Many accident victims are now NOT being assessed - The cap on assessment fees and the fact that travel expenses must now
be included have made it uneconomic to assess certain claimants,
particularly those in rural areas. About two-thirds of providers say
between 10% and 50% of claimants are now not being assessed (vs. a
similar number reporting zero assessment refusals a year ago).
Victims are waiting longer to receive treatment and services - The vast majority of providers report that their clients are now
waiting 2 months or more (vs. a wait of a month or less a year ago).
"The survey of 45 rehab practices across the province is not scientific,
but it does uncover some disturbing evidence that points to a breakdown
in consumer protection," Gurevich notes.
And the Alliance is not the only group concerned: medical experts are
also worried about their patients. Dr. Donna Ouchterlony, medical
director of the Brain Injury Clinic at St. Michael's Hospital notes,
"Since September, we are seeing more and more patients with serious
injuries whose insurers are outright denying treatment, and when
funding is approved, it is no longer nearly enough. The system is just
The Alliance is calling for a thorough and independent review of the
auto insurance system in Ontario - independent of government, the
Financial Services Commission of Ontario, and any insurance industry
Pending that review, the Alliance says the following must happen
immediately to ensure that those injured in auto accidents are treated
re-instate the benefits that were in place prior to last September
allow the cap on assessments to be exceeded in certain circumstances
withdraw the right of insurance adjusters to deny medical claims without
an independent medical opinion
require more openness and transparency, with insurers having to release
financial and operations data for their auto insurance lines
The Alliance represents approximately 80 companies and about 3,500
health care providers including physiotherapists, occupational
therapists, speech language pathologists, chiropractors, psychologists,
rehabilitation therapists, social workers, personal support workers and
case managers. It is these individuals who are the primary providers of
healthcare and rehabilitative services to Ontarians who are injured in
SOURCE Alliance of Community Medical
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