In some ways the injunction filed by the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association of Ontario may have been a blessing in disguise.
As of August 1st OHIP funding for these private clinics was to cease, their clients transferred to the Community Care Access Centres. Now that decision awaits the outcome of an application for judicial review this week — August 21.
Last year OHIP received $200 million in billings from these designated private clinics even though the government had only budgeted $146 million. Chantale LeClerc, CEO of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, told the media that the province had already increased funding for physiotherapy by 70 per cent three years ago, and that expenditures were anticipated to double by 2014.
Now the government has determined the funding will be $156 million by placing the responsibility in the hands of organizations with fixed budgets and LHIN accountability agreements. The private clinics argue that represents a cut of $44 million.
Tory MPP Randy Hillier is the Rob Ford of rural Ontario. He often makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.
His hatred of unions seems to be trumping common sense these days. Hillier recently wrote an editorial in the local media aligning his views with those of Health Minister Deb Matthews. Whereas most MPPs would stand up for their local hospital, Hillier is supporting deep cuts to the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital most likely because it is the local unions that are raising the alarm. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with an election likely on the horizon for 2013.
Hillier has bought Matthew’s inaccurate assertion that hospital cuts simply represent a transfer of services to community-based providers. We see Matthews’ interest is saving her own skin amid the obvious effects of austerity on Ontario’s health care system, but what’s in it for Hillier?
Perhaps Hillier should have a conversation with his own caucus members. Last year fellow Tory MPP John O’Toole characterized the government’s “Home First” initiative as the “Home Alone” initiative during a visit by the Ontario Health Coalition. Have they had a last-minute conversion to the Liberal cause?