Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Physiotherapy for elderly, youth covered under OHIP after government backs down

This is good news for PTs, but bad news for chiros. | Top Stories | Politics | Physiotherapy for elderly, youth covered under OHIP after government backs down

March 24, 2005 - 18:26

Physiotherapy for elderly, youth covered under OHIP after government backs down


TORONTO (CP) - Physiotherapy for the young and elderly will not be removed from the provincial health plan after all.

Ontario's Liberal government backed down Thursday from a controversial plan to delist the majority of physiotherapy services, saying it would not exclude people over 65 and under 19. "We're improving our physiotherapy program so that the dollars we spend help those who need it most: seniors, children, people with disabilities and people needing service in their home and after they leave the hospital," Health Minister George Smitherman said in a release.

In last year's budget, the government said it would delist physiotherapy services for all Ontarians except seniors receiving home care, those in long-term-care facilities and people collecting disability support.

That brought on a storm of protest from stakeholders who warned of ballooning health-care costs down the road.

Non-specific promises from government that society's most vulnerable would still be covered failed, for the most part, to silence that discontent.

On Thursday, the government delivered the details of that promised protection.

As of April 1, government-funded physiotherapy will be limited to the following groups:

-All seniors 65 and over.

-All people aged 19 and under.

-Long-term care residents of all ages.

-People of all ages needing short-term physiotherapy in their home and through a Community Care Access Centre.

-People of all ages requiring physiotherapy after overnight hospitalization.

-People of all ages receiving physiotherapy who are recipients of Ontario's Disability Support Program, Ontario Works, Family Benefits and Workplace Safety Insurance Board.

That news was encouraging to the Ontario Physiotherapy Association.

"We are pleased that the government is recognizing the importance of physiotherapy to the health of Ontarians," association CEO Dorianne Sauve said in a release.

But Ontarians aged 20 to 64 will not be eligible for government-funded physiotherapy as of April 1, a point of contention for another group of physiotherapists.

"We are still concerned that millions of taxpayers between the ages of 20 and 64, without private health insurance and who cannot afford to pay out of pocket, will be denied OHIP-covered physiotherapy," the Schedule Five Physiotherapy Clinic Owners' Association said in its release.

"Do our students, working single mothers, low-income families and new immigrants not deserve physiotherapy services?"

Last year's budget also put chiropractic care on the chopping block. Those services were delisted in December.

That only the physiotherapy plan was amended Thursday raised the ire of the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

"We call on Premier McGuinty to do the right thing and treat chiropractic patients in an equitable manner as with those patients treated by other health-care professionals," association president Dr. Dean Wright said in a release.

"Government should take action, as they have just done for physiotherapy patients, to protect those chiropractic patients."

But a government spokesman says chiropractic care will continue to be delisted despite those demands.