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Province insists that expansion of private health care is working

Posted: November 9, 2023

(November 8, 2023)

By Kyle Darbyson, The Sault Star

The Ontario government is pushing back on a recent report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which claims that the province’s health care system is “on the edge of the precipice” due to its recent elevation of for-profit facilities.

In this report, Simon Fraser University researcher Andrew Longhurst concludes that the province’s increased reliance on for-profit health-care delivery (made possible through the Your Health Act) worsens public-sector staffing shortages and destabilizes hospitals, alongside being generally more expensive and lower quality.

However, in a statement released to members of the press on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Minister of Health Sylvia Jones responded by stating that the province’s next approach to health care is working.

To ease pressures on the hospital system, the province announced in January that it is expanding the private delivery of public health care by funding clinics to perform more OHIP-covered procedures, such as cataract surgeries, MRI and CT scans, colonoscopies, hip and knee replacements.

And with the passage of the Your Health Act (Bill 60) back in May, the Health Minister’s office believes that they’ve managed to reduce surgical backlog to pre-pandemic levels by “adding 14,000 additional OHIP covered cataract surgeries annually and 49,000 hours of MRI and CT scans, with 80 per cent of all Ontarians now receiving surgery within the target time.”

“These requirements are in place for any new applicants and well as for any of the current 900 community and surgical diagnostic centers looking to renew their licenses,” the spokesperson wrote.

“Our plan is working and we will continue to reduce wait times and connect patients to the care they need, when they need it.”

Bill 60 and the province’s push to expand private health care remains a controversial topic amongst certain groups, with members of the Ontario Health Coalition protesting these decisions outside the Sault Area Hospital back in September.

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