Physiotherapy, Falls Prevention & Seniors

Originally published at on August 13, 2013

Changes to how publicly funded physiotherapy programs are delivered in Ontario is coming. The move to delist 90 + physiotherapy clinics from OHIP which would have immediately impacted seniors, has been halted by Justice Thomas Lederer.
A panel of three judges will review the situation August 31. Provincial Health Minister Deb Matthews claims Ontario and Canadian physiotherapy associations endorse the proposed model so that more seniors across the Province will receive care.”
The Minister’s budget ending March 31, 2013, spent $200 million on physiotherapy while this year’s $156 million dollar projection is hailed as an “increase,” when in fact, it is a shortfall of $44 million.

The issue is that community based physiotherapy will be delivered through the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and experience tells us that the time restrictions both in terms of amount of time per visit and number of visits allowed by the therapists is often, not enough. The other question is whether treatment will be delivered by a physiotherapist or a physiotherapy assistant.

It’s a quagmire: at $12.20 per treatment previously, long term care allowed a maximum of $1830.00 per bed. This year’s maximum is $750.00 per bed with each treatment skyrocketing to $120.
Physiotherapy is a preventative measure often assuring better quality of life. With talk of increasing falls prevention programs for those who are at risk, physiotherapy is critical not only for those who also want to prevent falls but also for those who are trying to rehabilitate AFTER having fallen. Being mobile and being able to transfer oneself from bed to chair are important quality of life components, especially for seniors.

“The measure of good health care isn’t how much you spend,” says spokesperson Sheamus Murphy, Director of Communications for Health Minister Deb Matthews, “but the quality of care patients receive.”

The question is, who pays? For more information please visit
-Audrey Miller

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