Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{May 24, 2012}   Ontario Cardiologists threaten Mass Exodus (Medical Post)

Ontario cardiologists threaten mass exodus

Written by Julia Belluz on May 24, 2012 for CanadianHealthcareNetwork.ca

Ontario cardiologists are saying the fee cuts imposed by the provincial government on doctors are going to force them to shut down.

In an interview with the Medical Post, the Ontario Medical Association chair of cardiology, Dr. Bill Hughes, said the biggest problem lies in the 50% reduction in the billing code for physicians referring to themselves for services.

“This represents a major, immediate threat to cardiologists,” said Dr. Hughes. “This means you can’t keep your staff employed, you can’t pay for your machines. It’s a question of how many people can continue to stay open.”

Dr. Hughes projects that a mature practice could lose 70% to 80% of its billings as a result of the cutback. “If you have a diagnostic facility, and you’re on the hook for your staff and equipment, and you go from 100 cents on your dollar to 50 cents on your dollar, you can’t stay open.”

According to the Globe and Mail, Dr. Hughes is not alone. A recent survey conducted by the association representing Ontario cardiologists showed 43% of 300 physicians polled are mulling over whether they’ll retire or move elsewhere to practice in the next two years as a result of the 37 fee-schedule changes unilaterally imposed by the provincial government this month.

Still, Health Minister Deb Matthews told the Globe she’s not convinced about an exodus. “I would like to know from them where, what jurisdiction, they think they could move to where they will do better financially than they do in Ontario,” she said. “Ontario doctors are extremely well-paid, relative to other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally.”





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