Ontario Health Coalition

Ontario Health Coalition

January 11, 2006 13:53 ET

ONT HEALTH COALITION TO CHALLENGE PRIVATE CLINICS ANNOUNCED TODAY

CLINCIS VIOLATE PRINCIPLES OF MEDICARE, COST MORE, TAKE DOCTORS OUT OF HEALTH SYSTEM SAYS OHC Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 11, 2006) - The Ontario Health Coalition is preparing to mount a challenge to the private clinics announced today in Ottawa, London and Toronto by Copeman Healthcare Inc.

The clinics will charge OHIP and will charge patients additional out-of-pocket initiation fees of $1,200 plus $2,300 annual dues for enhanced or boutique health services.

"This pay-your-way to enhanced healthcare for the wealthy violates the spirit and intent of the Canada Health Act and the public Medicare system," said Natalie Mehra Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. "We have been in contact with our lawyers and are investigating avenues for a challenge."

Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) Executive Director, Adrianna Tetley, pointed out the inefficiency of the private clinics compared to existing public alternatives. "In addition to billing the public system, these centres propose to charge membership fees that will make their services almost 4000 times more expensive to the client than nearly identical services offered at no added cost through non-profit community health centres," she noted. "These clinics will also suck doctors and other health professionals out of the public system. There are public solutions to our Medicare concerns, and the Ontario government has seized upon this already through a 60% increase in the number of community health by 2007-08. That is the sort of measure that is needed, enhancing capacity and innovation in the public, non-profit health system, instead of merely putting money into the pockets of profit-seekers."

"We remind the business people that want to make a profit from these clinics that Ontario law prohibits them from barring access to physician services if patients refuse to pay any "block fee". We also remind them that they are not allowed under the Canada Health Act to charge user fees for medically necessary physician services," added Natalie Mehra. "We will be extremely vigorous in our defense of these protections. They are critical to ensure Ontarians' equal access to health services based on need not ability to pay. This is the basic principle of our public health system achieved a generation ago by Canadians."

/For further information: Natalie Mehra
OHC
416.230.6402 (cellular)/ IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Scott Wolfe, AOHC
    Primary Phone: 416-236-2539 ext. 234