The ontario government is once again changing how it funds physiotherapy services, and it has left many of us scratching our heads.
Since the 1980’s OHIP funded physiotherapy services have been available at a select few clinics called schedule 5 clinics. These clinics could provide services to individuals under the age of 18, over the age of 65, and to those who had spent a night in hospital for a physiotherapy related condition. The catch has always been the amount of money OHIP would pay (which was in the neighbourhood of $12 per session). This meant that in order for a clinic to make money off of this model, clinics would see multiple people at one time and use support personnel to treat patients (instead of registered physiotherapists who would typically “monitor” treatments).
So, when the government announced changes to this model, like most I thought it was a positive change. Upon further review this new model does very little to improve upon the quality of care. Instead of a price per session, the new model has clinics bill a flat fee per injury/referral. This will encourage clinics to discharge patients very early in their care, to maximize their profit on each individual. The result will be patients being discharged before they should be, and perhaps increased hospitalization as a result.
The other effect of these changes was the reduction of care in long term care facilities. Although there will be some care offered in these facilities, it will be much less than before and again, the long term costs of this change could be significant. The care in these types of settings is often focused on functional results such as falls prevention. Without this type of care, it is likely catastrophic events such as falls will increase in number.
Although the old schedule 5 clinic model needed to be reviewed, the current proposed system does nothing to address the issues. Once again, patients being treated under this model are likely to receive lower quality care and be discharged prior to full recovery from their injury. In addition, less care is being offered to patients in long term care facilities. The result is likely to be increased hospitalization a due to increased falls in the elderly, and poor results after surgeries such as total hip and knee replacements.
If you are looking for high quality, personalized, one on one physiotherapy care, contact South Simcoe Physiotherapy.