TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/19/13 -- More than 3,000 Ontario physiotherapy workers - including 1,000 physiotherapists - will be out of a job on August 1, as a result of the Ontario government's decision to cut funding for OHIP physiotherapy.
The physiotherapists, with their assistants, have helped thousands of seniors maintain their mobility and often their independence by providing seniors with up to three one-on-one physiotherapy treatments a week.
"Incredibly, the Ontario government continues to call its cuts an expansion of physiotherapy services - when the changes will result in the elimination of more than 3,000 health care positions across the province," said Tony Melles, Executive Director of the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association. "The government has disregarded the concerns of health care providers, seniors and their families in implementing a drastic reduction in physiotherapy that will directly impact the health, mobility and quality of life of our seniors."
Over the last two weeks, more than 35,000 seniors living in retirement homes, supportive housing and their own homes have been notified that their physiotherapist will not be able to treat them after August 1.
Ambulatory seniors who require ongoing physiotherapy will have to go to a community clinic - bedridden seniors will be seen by their local Community Care Access Centre, to be assessed for physiotherapy services provided through CCACs, with an unknown number of treatments available to them. Seniors who are not bedridden but who require ongoing physiotherapy may also apply to the CCACs to determine if they can continue to get one-on-one government-funded physiotherapy. Many CCACs are asking for help from DPCA providers because they do not have the capacity or capability to deal with the new demand for one-on-one physiotherapy on such short timelines.
Seniors across the province are shocked - many see physiotherapy as the key to their mobility and health, and fear they will decline without it. As Ontario's CCACs try to manage the surge of seniors for whom they now have to coordinate physiotherapy, many elderly are at risk of having to go without any physiotherapy services after August 1. It could take months to assess and coordinate new providers for tens of thousands of seniors across Ontario.
DPCA is calling on the government to postpone its planned cuts and engage in real consultation with DPCA and other organizations that share a direct interest in maintaining current levels of care to seniors. "Together we can develop a better plan that avoids all of this chaos and keeps the current level of care for seniors, while still meeting the goals of cost containment and improved geographic access," said Melles.
About the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association
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. DPC Physiotherapists provide high-quality, safe and effective treatment on a fee-for-service basis in Ontario for only $12.20 per treatment.
Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association
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