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Southwest Ontario Seniors and Health Care Providers Align to Stop OHIP Physiotherapy Cuts

Wednesday, May 22nd 2013 12:48:48pm

Media Release

(May 22, 2013, Windsor) Seniors and local health care providers today called upon the Provincial Government to stop implementing changes to OHIP funded physiotherapy that will lead to deep cuts in necessary care for Ontarians.

The participants gathered at Motion Specialties Windsor to highlight the impacts and consequences of a $44 million reduction in spending planned by the Liberal government. In the Windsor area alone, thousands of seniors are expected to lose or have vastly reduced physiotherapy service.

“The government can try as hard as it wants to say that care will be expanded, but when you see that the funding is being cut by $44 million dollars you get the true picture,” said Tina Bishai, Director of the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association (DPCA).

The impact of the cuts will be widespread as doctors lose their referral responsibility to bureaucrats at the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). Cuts will be deepest in the retirement home setting where no dedicated physiotherapy program will remain onsite. In the long term care setting, the cuts will be nearly 50 percent.

“For more than 30 years I have worked as a physiotherapist in Windsor,” said Merle Duchesne. “It makes me so sad to see the look of fear in the eyes of seniors who are likely to lose the very service that has been clinically proven to help them live healthier lives,” she added.

Jean Johns is a resident of a retirement residence and knows she has benefitted from regular access to physiotherapy. She observed, “I thought the government was taking care of me and making a good investment in keeping me healthy and preventing falls. Why would they cut the one service within retirement homes that they are actually paying for?”

Terry Moir of Windsor echoed those comments, saying, “It’s not easy getting older but having regular physiotherapy gives me the strength and confidence to keep going. Losing access makes me worry about my future.”

Opposition parties in the Legislature share the concern of Windsor seniors and have been asking questions and introducing petitions at Queens Park from Ontarians opposing the cuts. Taras Natyshak, MPP Essex, echoes the concerns relayed by the DPCA and the seniors today in a statement, “We are committed to preserving physiotherapy services and have asked the Liberal government to provide a plan that ensures all Ontarians who receive care today will continue to receive care after August 1st, 2013. Unfortunately, the government has not been able to provide a clear or reassuring plan of how access to physiotherapy will be maintained. We hear promises but no proof that care will continue to be available.”  

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Media Contacts:

Merle Duchesne, Regional Manager, Southwestern Ontario, Centric Health
519-562-5502 (cell), merle.duchesne@centrichealth.ca

Tina Bishai, Board Member, Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association
416-471-2727 (cell), tina.bishai@centrichealth.ca

About DPCA - The Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association (DPCA) and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care share a goal to provide equitable access to OHIP-funded physiotherapy for children, seniors, welfare recipients and disabled persons across the province. The province’s 94 OHIP-funded Designated Physiotherapy Clinics (DPCs) have provided high-quality, low-cost care to over 150,000 Ontario seniors, children, welfare recipients and disabled persons each year in community clinics, Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Residences for almost 50 years. For more information, visit: www.dpca.ca.