Chapter 3


Chapter 3: Ontario Health Care – Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

In my series on the Healthcare System in Canada, specifically Ontario, I found some interesting things in my research. One of the first was The Excellent Care for All Act, 2010.

Here is the link to: The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for Ontario, Canada; containing the Excellent Care for All Act:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/legislation/excellent_care/

The Canadian perception of healthcare is: the Government is going to catch us when we fall. We believe; if you have a serious on-going illness, condition or disability, you will be ok in this Country. Is that true? Will you be covered? Do you know what you are covered for?

Services Not Covered By OHIP

Here are some services that were available to Chronic Pain Patients, which are now not covered under OHIP

  • *Effective December 1st, 2004 chiropractic services are no longer covered by OHIP
  • **Ambulance services used by a resident of Ontario will be charged $45.00 co-payment
    • who is eligible for OHIP,
    • ambulance service is deemed medically necessary,
    • the ambulance originates and ends in Ontario and you cannot claim an ambulance co-payment exemption.
    • By the way, if you took the ambulance to another Province but within Canada if treatment is not available in your Province.
  • ***Physiotherapy – Effective April 1st, 2005 government funded physiotherapy is no longer available for
    • Seniors 65 and over
    • Aged 19 and under
    • Residents of long-term care homes at any age
    • Needing physiotherapy services in their home or after being hospitalized at any age
    • Ontario disability Support Program, Family Benefits and Ontario Works recipients of any age.

Here are some therapies never covered by OHIP.

 

*http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/ohip/chiropractic.html

**http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ohip/amb.aspx

***http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/media/news_releases/archives/nr_05/nr_032405.html

Around 2004 significant cuts and restrictions were made to services provided by OHIP. Ones of possible value to a Chronic Pain Patient. It seems these services were too expensive to continue. However we seem financially able to create the Excellent Care for All Act in 2010.

The Excellent Care For All Act, 2010

Here is what the Government of Ontario proposes to do, in order to improve the quality of our experiences as patients.

  • *Quality committees, which will report to healthcare organizations on quality-related issues
  • *Annual quality improvement plans, which each health care organization will be required to develop and make public
  • *Executive compensation which will be required to be linked to achieving improvement targets set out in the annual quality improvements plan
  • *Patient/client/caregiver surveys to assess satisfaction with services
  • *Staff surveys to assess satisfaction with employment experience and views about the quality of care provided by the healthcare organization
  • *Declarations of values that will be developed after public consultation by health care organizations that are currently without one
  • *Patient relations process to address patient experience issues and reflect its declaration of values

* this information is derived from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/legislation/excellent_care/

This act, it is all about surveys, research, committees, plans etc. How much is this going to cost? We will pay  people to make phone calls to Ontarians’ at dinner time, asking them questions, they probably won’t answer correctly; if at all.  Raise your hands if you hang up on a telemarketer calling you at 6pm!

Research is expensive. There are panels to build, questions to create, methods of collection (phone, paper, internet), the framework to distribute and collect the data (software development, training personnel), the analysis of the data, the presentation of the data etc. It is a consumer of time, resources and money.

An Ontario Health Quality Council will make recommendations based on the vast and important data collected. It is my assumption; we must pay these experts for their time. I wonder if they remember the recently closed hospital run Pain Clinics while they sign that cheque?

They want to assess Patient Relations, Patient Experience, and Satisfaction of the Health Care Staff. I am right here to tell my experience. I might not have been sick for this long if the system had resources to help me. It might not have taken 6 months to see the first specialist, after 1 year of being in pain. I might have been able to get physiotherapy done sooner. I might not have had to go to another city to get an MRI, because someone did me a favour. I might not had to keep working through the pain, to make money to pay for treatments that were not covered.

Conclusion

Research is important, but it is important to understand that research can be skewed and manipulated. Be it by the creation of questions asked, the methods used and the analysis and distribution of the results. I am not saying that the Government is going to commit some heinous act of deception. I am saying that we have to take all of this with a grain of salt. We also have to use our voice in objection!! How are we to balance the discrimination of pain patients for narcotics use, if the alternative treatments are so costly and existing services so hard to use?

Here are some of my suggestions – please add your suggestions to the comments section – the more voices the better.

  • More MRI and/or improved Diagnostic Machines and less wait time
  • Pain Clinics offering OHIP coverage for both Eastern & Western medicine
  • Public Awareness for Chronic Pain Patients
  • Chronic Pain Patient Awareness, Education and Understanding training for Health Professionals
    • Doctors – of  ALL disciplines  – like pediatrics, general practice, etc.
    • Pharmacists
    • Hospital Staff
    • Nurses
    • Nurse Practitioners
    • Front Line Health Care Workers – office staff, technicians, support staff

Just those – although a lot would be a good start. We need to focus on ACTIONS of the Medical Community, not research and bureaucracy.

Upcoming Chapters

We need to be aware as Canadians, what really is there for us. In that light here are some article topics coming in the following weeks.

  • What is covered by Provincial Healthcare – I will be covering the Health Plans of all the provinces
  • Narcotics Strategy of Ontario – what the Ontario Government has in store
  • Alternative Therapies Regulatory Bodies – Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine etc.
  • Health Insurance – Individual Plans
  • Group Insurance – Understanding Your Plan
  • Critical Illness
  • Long Term Care
  • Disability Insurance

Please feel free to contact Chronic Pain Journal if you have any comments, questions, stories, examples and/or issues you would like addressed.

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