Can You Get To See Your Family Doctor?

by Audrey Miller on July 23, 2012

in Articles & Blogs by Audrey, Baby Boomers, Elder Care, Geriatric Care Management

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allaboutestates. ca Written on July 23, 2012 – 7:01 am | by Audrey Miller

Our family doctors are not happy these days and you have to wonder why. We are going to need more of them- not fewer. The Ontario government appears to be slashing our health care and we don’t even know it.

One family doctor tells me that the Ministry of Health retroactively directed that doctors cannot make referrals for some tests. Basically, they have said “I can’t order a back x-ray for you because I don’t suspect a specific condition for you. While you pay taxes, the government has told you that you can’t have a specific test, and told me they know better than I when you need the test.“

Similarly, if your doctor refers you, their patient, for a stress test, the specialist to whom you are referred ie the cardiologist, is no longer able to complete this test themselves, but rather must provide you with a list of facilities and offer you the choice of where you want to have the procedure completed. These measures are now in place to ensure that only those tests deemed necessary by the Ministry of Health, are prescribed.

My own doctor for many years, has provided her patients the convenience of offering blood work and a ecg exam on site and now has been told that she can no longer provide this convenient service to her patients, as she is getting paid a percentage from OHIP for the administration of these procedures.

CBC News Posted an article on May 7, 2012, titled: Ontario doctors feel ‘deceived’ after government slashes fees.Fees will be cut on hundreds of services.
Reportedly, this decision was made without discussion with the OMA and was declared retroactively to April 1, 2012. Some of the savings that the government says it will realize as a result of the changes include:
• $44 million by cutting in half the fee for “self-referrals” — referring a patients for such tests as X-rays and ultrasounds.
• $30 million by 5 per cent cut in fees for interpreting results of diagnostic radiology.
• $20 million by cutting pre-operative echocardiograms for elective non-cardiac surgery.
• $6.4 million by 10 per cent fee cut in cataract surgery which now takes 15 minutes compared to two hours a decade ago.
We have all noted the shortage of family doctors yet the concern identified is that as a result of this arbitrary decision made by the Ministry, more doctors may choose to head south of the border. Let’s hope we all stay well!

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