Dec. 9, 2014 – It is disappointing that stories appear that wrongly report OHIP billings are the same as doctors’ salaries. In fact, OHIP billings are calculated before expenses – for example: doctors’ rent for office space, staff salaries, office and medical supplies, and equipment are paid for from the OHIP billings.
To provide an illustration, the most common type of visit provided by family physicians is called an Intermediate Assessment, for which the OHIP schedule of benefits pays $33.70 for approximately 15 minutes of time spent with a patient. A third of that charge goes towards overhead expenses.
Ontario’s doctors are committed to transparency and accountability, but publishing a list of individual physician OHIP billings is not about accountability. It is also not about transparency. Focusing on this issue creates misunderstanding and does not help our efforts to try to improve the health care system.
There are over 28,000 practicing physicians in Ontario providing more than 100 million patient visits every year. OHIP billings reflect the increased care necessary to meet the medical needs of a growing and aging population; the reality of underserviced communities where a few physicians are working to care for an entire community; and physicians working to reduce waiting lists so you and your family can get access to care sooner.
Moreover, to equate Ontario’s Doctors with those government employees on the “sunshine list” is simply misleading. Physicians are not employees, and as a result, are not afforded the benefits offered to a government employee, including: paid vacation, health and dental benefits, a pension, paid sick leave, an office and staff. What the public doesn’t see are the costs that go along with the services.
The reality is that it is because of the dedication of Ontario’s doctors that over 2.5 million patients who did not have a family doctor 10 years ago now have one. Today, there are 4,000 more doctors in Ontario than in 2003. Over 75 per cent of Ontarians are enrolled with a doctor or Family Health Team, giving them more opportunities to get their care from a doctor who knows them and is familiar with their history. Ontario’s doctors are committed to continuing to work collaboratively to improve access to quality health care services in Ontario. Our patients deserve it.
Dr. Ved Tandan,
President of the Ontario Medical Association