Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{November 13, 2012}   Ontario MDs new tentative deal with province – Docs will work for less money !


Corkscrewed Again !!!

This is what happens when a Community-Child-Psychiatrist-OMA-President without much business experience tries to negotiate with Government Cutthroats whose XMas Bonus and Promotion depends on making docs work for less money.   

More reasons for docs to go South !



Written by Julia Belluz on November 13, 2012 for The Medical Post

TORONTO | It has been nearly a year in the making, characterized by stalls, spats, cuts, threats, a Charter challenge and long silences.

But Tuesday, the McGuinty government and the Ontario Medical Association announced they have tentatively agreed on a new Physician Services Agreement.

Though statements from health minister Deb Matthews and OMA president Dr. Doug Weir suggested a renewed relationship, perhaps unsurprisingly, after the hard-fought and drawn-out negotiating process, the agreement only runs to March 2014.

This means it’s a two-year deal instead of the usual four years, and that the two parties will be back at the negotiating table in about a year.

For now, the OMA board is urging members to ratify the agreement, which could happen in December.

A release from the health ministry stated the deal formalizes their partnership with the OMA and includes a newly established process to resolve disputes in the future.

“Ontario doctors were pleased to help the province find savings in the health-care system that protect patient care and allow for investments in other areas,” said Dr. Weir. “Most important to patients, we’ve established a partnership that means that we can continue this important work in the future.”

Matthews said in a statement the deal “puts patients first and respects our doctors. By working together and being creative, we were able to find solutions that strengthen our health-care system while working within our fiscal constraints.

“This agreement renews a real partnership between our government and Ontario’s doctors, as we transform Ontario’s public medicare system so that it is there for our children and grandchildren.”

The release added: “The agreement protects and builds on the gains made for patients over the last nine years through the partnership of the McGuinty government and the OMA.”

Other key points in the agreement include:

  • A 0.5% payment discount for all physicians that the OMA and ministry will work to replace by finding additional evidence-based savings.
  • After careful review of the regulatory changes made in May, six fees will be adjusted: the self-referral fee, the Optical Coherence Tomography fee, the after-hours premium, the anesthesia flat fee, the laparoscopic premium, and the Coronary Intensive Care premium. Obligations are also being changed in the Schedule of Benefits for lumbar spine X-rays and CT scans. (More to come on this point, as the Medical Post is working to get details.)
  • Savings from physician-influenced health system reforms will allow the physician services budget to increase by a cumulative $100 million over two years. These savings will be used to help new doctors join the system. Physician-influenced reforms include reducing unnecessary lab testing, streamlining physician-influenced hospital equipment purchases and more evidence-based drug prescribing.
  • Modernizing the delivery of health care and lowering wait times through e-consultations, enabling patients to communicate with their doctor more easily, allowing for more virtual connections between family doctors and specialists and an expansion of telemedicine services.
  • New priority investments to expand access to family doctors for seniors and patients with higher needs, including an expansion of house calls.
  • New evidence-based changes to support the sustainability of the health-care system and the protection of high-quality patient care, including: reducing unnecessary pre-op cardiac testing for low-risk, non-cardiac patients; modernizing the annual health exam, personalizing it to the individual needs of healthy adults and reducing unnecessary tests; and aligning the frequency of colonoscopies and cervical cancer screening to meet Cancer Care Ontario guidelines.

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