April 22nd, 2020

// Ontario Doctors Fight for Patients by Sustaining Community Health Care

Ontario Doctors Fight for Patients by Sustaining Community Health Care

TORONTO, April 21, 2020 /CNW/ - Last evening, the Ontario Medical Association's Board of Directors unanimously voted to reject the government's proposal to offer advance payments to Ontario's physicians in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Board resolution stated, advance payments are "totally deficient in meeting the needs of the health care system for future sustainability, including income stabilization and infrastructure support." Advance payments will not maintain a sustainable and accessible publicly funded health care system. 

The OMA formally notified the Minister of Health in a letter earlier today.

"We are worried about our patients. We are worried about increasing wait times and worsening hallway medicine. We are worried about the sustainability of Ontario's community healthcare infrastructure. Advance payments will not meet these needs. That is why we continue to advocate for the relief necessary to protect Ontario's health care infrastructure," said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, President of the OMA. "For the sake of our patients, we are eager to find a solution that provides Ontario's doctors with the support needed to keep our practices open now, and after COVID."

Closing doctors' offices could mean that hundreds of thousands of patients could have no access to a doctor, in addition to the 800,000 Ontarians who do not have a family doctor now. Up to half of the approximately 4800 doctors who completed a recent OMA's survey said they will have to close their clinics completely, either for as long as three months or permanently.

Although doctors are an essential service and are paid by the province, many doctors do not receive a salary but operate as independent small businesses. When a patient comes in for a test, exam or consult, OHIP pays for this service. Upwards of 30 percent to 50 percent of OHIP payments are used to fund community-based health system infrastructure including salaries for nurses and secretaries, rent, utilities, diagnostic equipment, medical supplies, electronic medical records and other professional costs.  According to an independent third-party analysis, many doctors do not qualify for COVID-19 relief programs.

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario's 43,000 plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario's health-care system.  

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

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