New agreement between Ontario's doctors and government protects patient care
TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2012
- Today, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) ratified a new Physician Services Agreement (PSA) with the provincial government. The vote took place this morning following a referendum with Ontario's doctors where 81% voted in support of the agreement.
The new contract runs from October 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014. The OMA Board unanimously endorsed the agreement in November, and was followed by a comprehensive information campaign to educate physicians across the province about the contents of the deal. During the course of a week, physicians were able to vote online or by phone and nearly 21,000 doctors cast a ballot, representing the highest voting turnout in the history of the OMA.
Key components of the deal include:
- Helping the government find almost $400 million in savings including:
- A 0.5 per cent payment discount for all physicians; and
- Finding more than $100 million in savings from health system reform; reducing unnecessary lab testing and streamlining hospital equipment purchases.
- New priority investments to expand access to family doctors for seniors and patients with higher needs, including an expansion of house calls;
- Modernizing the delivery of health care and lowering wait times through e-consultations, enabling patients to communicate with their doctor more easily, allowing for more virtual connections between family doctors and specialists, and an expansion of telemedicine services.
The almost $400 million in savings found in this latest agreement is in addition to the over $300 million that Ontario's doctors have already helped the government find in the past couple of years. Since 2003, Ontario's doctors have had tremendous success improving patient care and strengthening the health care system, including:
- Helping 2.1 million more Ontarians find a family doctor that did not have one in 2003;
- Over 7 million patients are benefitting from electronic medical records;
- Savings totaling almost $700 million which have been re-invested back into the health services;
- Nearly 10 million patients rostered in primary care groups along with nearly 8,000 doctors.
"These negotiations were challenging but I'm very pleased we were able to roll up our sleeves and reach an agreement that not only enhances patient care but also protects the improvements that have been made in recent years."
"Ontario's doctors demonstrated tremendous leadership by being active partners in helping the province with its fiscal challenges. If we are going to build on our successes in recent years to improve health care in Ontario, doctors and government need to continue to work in partnership."
Dr. Doug Weir, President
Ontario Medical Association
SOURCE: Ontario Medical Association