Ontario okays private scan, critics claim they skim off easier cases – Health

Ontario okays private scan, critics claim they skim off easier cases – Health – approves Independent Health Facilities

TORONTO — “Queue jumping will not be tolerated”, an Ontario government press release states, as Premier Ernie Eves announced contracts for private companies to provide five MRI and five new CT scan services throughout Ontario. The government will spend up to $4.6 million annually to provide expanded diagnostic services in Independent Health Facilities. The government states that they will provide medically necessary insured MRI and CT scans, operating through the existing Independent Health Facilities Act, within Ontario’s universally accessible, publicly funded healthcare system. A physician referral will be required for MRI and CT scans. Health Minister Tony Clement claims these independent facilities will cost 36 per cent less than the cost of providing the same services in a hospital.”

The Ontario Health Care Coalition claims “allow for cheaper equipment with less features and software.” In turn, the Coalition charges, the cheaper equipment renders the clinics “incapable of doing Complex cases found in hospitals”, and that the for-profit clinics “will provide easier scans, leaving the heavy care and risky patients to the public, non-profit system.”

At the same time Cancer Care Ontario will end its controversial contract with Canadian Radiation Oncology in September to provide after hours scan services in Toronto’s Sunnybook Hospital, claiming the service was no longer needed as sufficient staff has been engaged to bring the service back into the hospital operations. The costs and efficiency of this service was challenged by Ontario’s Auditor General. After hours clinics are now available in hospitals in Hamilton, London, Kingston and Ottawa.

The new Independent facilities will be available in Kitchener, Ajax, Mississauga, Vaughan, Huntsville, and Thunder Bay. The Request For Proposals for a CT machine in the City of Brantford was cancelled because the bid price was too high, and would not have provided cost efficient service. Instead, the Norfolk General Hospital will receive approval for a CT machine to serve the needs of that community. 416-327-4327

COPYRIGHT 2003 Community Action Publishers

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group