Home Canada Orillia doctor, officials weigh in on plan for private clinics

Orillia doctor, officials weigh in on plan for private clinics

by News Desk
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Orillia, M.D., president of the Ontario Medical Association, said, “We need to do something different to keep up and bring these patients to surgery.”

The state government recently announced plans to invest in private health clinics, but local health care providers have mixed feelings.

With more than 200,000 outstanding surgeries statewide, the government will roll out a plan to invest in community-based private health clinics in three phases.

Clinics will come first to Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa to reduce backlogs such as cataract surgeries and enable private clinics to perform more complex surgeries such as hip and knee replacements by 2024. make additional investments to .

As part of the plan, the state government is investing $300 million in 2022/23, highlighting that treatment in for-profit clinics will be covered under OHIP, according to a Jan. 16 press release. I’m here.

On the one hand, local health care providers say they desperately want wait times for surgeries to be reduced.

“People are waiting very long for elective surgeries and procedures such as cataracts, hip and knee replacements, some imaging, CT scans and MRIs.The pandemic has actually exacerbated these wait times. I did,” he said. Orillia-based physician Rose Zacharias, current president of the Ontario Medical Association;

“This announcement is ( ) encouraging because we need to do something different to catch up with these patients and bring them in for their surgery.”

Done right, investing in private clinics will free up valuable space in hospitals because many elective surgeries can be performed outside hospitals, Zacharias said. .

“Many of these cases are at risk of being canceled or postponed when they are booked, for example, in a hospital operating room, and then a more urgent situation arises,” she said.

“Imagine someone who has been waiting a year and a half for hip replacement surgery. and there are a lot of breakdowns.Bones…that person’s time slot in the operating room is bumped and canceled because they can wait.”

While specifics of the investment in Orillia have yet to be announced by the state, Zacharias and Carmine Stampo, president and CEO of Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, said maintaining the hospital is the biggest investment. expressed concern about potential staffing issues in communities like Orillia, an issue of Full staff.

“Our biggest challenge right now is ensuring we have skilled and trained individuals who can work in the operating room,” said Stumpo. , we want to continuously increase our staff so that we can offer more cases and more surgeries.Building new centers will not solve the staffing problem.”

“Right now our focus is on optimizing the space we have because we have the ability to do more,” he said.

Nevertheless, Stampo said hospitals are “committed to coming up with different ways to provide care” to reduce the backlog of surgeries caused by the pandemic.

Zacharias said it was essential for private clinics and hospitals to work together to ensure adequate resources for the community, suggesting that health professionals could divide their time between clinics and hospitals. suggested.

If managed correctly, such arrangements might also help with hospital staff burnout, she said.

“Staff could probably work in a clinic for a week and spend the rest of the time in a hospital. I believe we can address the issue of burnout,” she said.

When asked about the possibility of financially wealthy people jumping the lines of private clinics, Zacharias stressed the importance of triaging surgeries as needed in both public and private settings. .

“What we are absolutely adamant about is that no one should take money out of their pocket to jump the line,” she said.

For local social worker and longtime Simcoe North NDP candidate Elizabeth Van Houte, the state government’s move to fund private clinics is a step toward privatizing health care in Ontario. is shown.

Van Houtte describes the chronic underfunding of Ontario’s health care system, the wage cap imposed by Bill 124, and her own personal Emphasis on experience.

She points to a recent column in the Toronto Star that said Ontario will need to spend an additional $7.2 billion this year to match the per capita health care averages of other provinces.

“If you can’t fund the public system, why would you want to fund the private system?” she said. “Ontario contributes the least to healthcare. They have money…they received a federal down payment and most of that money was not used for COVID – they sat on it .”

Van Houtte also argued that the current shortage of health care professionals stems from both burnout and the wage cap introduced by Bill 124.

“When you treat medical professionals[like that]with a 1 percent increase … they just quit their profession,” she said. “Where are you going to get these new people for your private clinic?”

Pointing to private long-term care facilities, Van Houtte also emphasized that Ontario has tried and failed private health care options.

“Remember nursing homes? They had the highest mortality rates during COVID,” she said. “We’ve already tried it. It failed miserably, long-term care stakeholders were laughing all the way to the bank, and there’s evidence…they made an excessive amount of money during COVID. .”

Van Houtte fears that Ontario’s health care system could break up, as private clinics are slated to be funded.

“The health care system will be fragmented and people will have to have insurance,” she said. “Who will pay the premium?”

“You have to pay the premium or we can download it to your employer. (Many of them) are not currently paying benefits anyway. ”

Van Houtte recalled having a complicated pregnancy while working in the United States that required a lengthy hospital stay and said hospital bills exceeded $1 million.

She said she probably wouldn’t have had a daughter if she hadn’t received the compensation she paid the bills for.

“I didn’t have to pay a dime, but that’s the reality. If I didn’t have insurance? I probably would have gone home. I probably wouldn’t have had children,” she said. rice field.

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