Ontario doctors launch social media campaign to protest fee cuts
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Thursday, September 24, 2015 1:27PM EDT
Ontario doctors are warning that a new round of fee cuts could “decimate” some medical services in the province and force some doctors to close shop in the province.
A new fee schedule that implements a 1.3 per cent cut is set to go into effect for Ontario doctors starting on Oct. 1.
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) has already warned that the cut will threaten access to quality health care for patients.
A social media campaign promoted by the OMA sprung up on Twitter Wednesday, with dozens of doctors across the province tweeting about their workloads using the hash tag #oncall4ON.
In a separate release issued Thursday, the Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine said it expects the cuts will specifically impact wait times for critical diagnostic procedures and treatments.
“The Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine (OANM) expects these cuts will force the closure of some medical practices resulting in diminished access for patients and longer wait times for critical diagnostic procedures and treatments,” the association said in its release.
It said that once the new fee schedule is implemented, doctors practicing nuclear medicine will have had their billing codes cut by 29.45 per cent since 2012.
“Nuclear medicine specialists were not consulted about this decision and what it would mean for patient care. It's moved so quickly we haven't had any time to discuss the implications with our patients and their families, let alone with the government,” OANM president Christopher O'Brien said in the release.
The latest fee cut follows a 2.6 per cent cut imposed by the province in January after the OMA rejected an offer from the government and walked away from negotiations.
A conciliation report had suggested that doctors accept the deal, however the OMA rejected it, saying it failed to account for the challenges facing the province.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne said that Ontario doctors are some of the best paid doctors in the world and said she was “disappointed” that the province and its physicians were unable to reach a deal.
Speaking to CTV News Wednesday, Health Minister Eric Hoskins said the average Ontario doctor bills OHIP $360,000 per year.
“I know that they’ve got expenses that come out of that $350,000 amount, but we’ve actually increased doctors’ compensation by 60 per cent over the last decade,” Hoskins said.
He disputed the idea that doctors would leave Ontario and said quality care will continue for Ontario patients.
For their part, doctors argue that they face high overhead costs, including staff salaries and medical equipment.
- With files from CTVNews.ca