TORONTO, May 31, 2012 /CNW/ - Dr. Douglas Mark, President of the Coalition of Family Physicians and Specialists of Ontario, announced further details of Premier McGuinty's unilateral cuts to Ontario's healthcare system. "The Ontario government has begun to micromanage your healthcare. For example, if you see your physician and you need an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan for lower back pain, the government may decide later that your test is 'not medically necessary'," he said. "What happens next? Your doctor must now pay for it personally. Ultimately, tests may not be ordered, even if they are necessary, for fear of this clawback by government bureaucrats."
"The government," he explained, "has now made Ontario the land of micro-managed health care, the 'Deb Matthews' way. Some nameless, faceless bureaucrat in the government will decide who is or is not eligible for coverage for these X-rays, CT, and MRI scans. Another example is mammograms. If a radiologist recommends and performs additional studies because of abnormalities on a scan, their fees will be cut by 50 per cent since they are now deemed as self-referrals. Ultimately, it will be our patients who will have to pay for these tests themselves with their health or even their lives, despite having already paid for health care through taxes and the additional healthcare levy. To make matters worse, Ontario has made it illegal for you to purchase such services in the province, forcing patients to seek them in other provinces or countries."
Since this change is retroactive to April 1, 2012, many Ontario patients have already undergone hundreds or even thousands of x-rays, CTs, and MRIs for lower back pain, as well as additional mammogram tests. Dr. Mark continued, "This whole thing is utter madness. Doctors order tests they feel are medically necessary, but now government bureaucrats will decide who gets what tests, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Cardiology, neurology, anaesthesiology, and ophthalmology tests and services are also under the Deb Matthews microscope."
Dr Mark pointed out that the government will have to hire hundreds more bureaucrats to join the some 10,000 that already administer our healthcare system, far more than other Western countries with more efficient and successful heathcare systems (World Health Organization 2000). "In addition, there are 80,000 bureaucrats on Ontario's Sunshine List with many who earn more than the average Ontario physician," said Dr. Mark. "How many of these work in our healthcare bureaucracy? Is it any wonder that this government has fostered scandals like eHealth and ORNGE? It seems that in Ontario, health care bureaucracy is a big and thriving business, with patient care relegated to a lesser role."
To combat this issue, the Coalition has sent Ontario physicians a form to forward to Health Minister Deb Matthews asking for pre-approval of a number of diagnostic tests and services that have been singled out thus far. Dr. Mark concluded, "It is now in the hands of our Health Minister. Besides getting back to the negotiating table with the OMA, our prescription to her is to reverse these unilateral cuts and get out of the business of micromanaging our patients' healthcare before it is too late."
Full text and audio version of the Media Release Address is available on our website:
Medically Necessary Authorization Requisition Form:
Schedule of Benefits for Physician Services under the Health Insurance Act (April 1, 2012)
The Coalition of Family Physicians and Specialists of Ontario (COFPS), is an independent and voluntary organization for all Ontario physicians. Since 1996, we have been promoting the rights of medical doctors and the welfare of our patients by promoting sustainable healthcare practices which also safeguard accessibility and the highest standards of medical care.
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