(TORONTO, ON) – The province and the Ontario Medical Association have reached a tentative four-year agreement that would, if ratified, strengthen the quality, access and timeliness of health care while providing a predictable physician services budget.
The tentative agreement contains annual increases to the Physician Services Budget that are limited to the costs of population growth, an aging society, and funding for continued growth in doctors supply.
It would also ensure a more sustainable healthcare system for the future, allow for the addition of new doctors each year, fortify the Primary Care Guarantee for patients and support the realignment of physician compensation around valued mutual priorities and services.
“Physicians play a crucial role in the lives of patients and I know how hard they work to deliver the highest quality care to their patients every day,” said Dr Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “This agreement will strengthen the long-term sustainability of our health care system while taking new steps to boost access, quality and timeliness of care.”
The deal is scheduled for an OMC council ratification vote on August 6, but members are less than pleased with the agreement. A rejection of the deal by the OMA council could lead to unilateral changes by the province. In the meantime, the OMA Charter challenge for binding arbitration against the Ontario Government will continue.
- Funding that allows for the addition of new physicians annually to meet the needs of Ontario’s growing and aging population.
- A commitment to work together to implement the Primary Care Guarantee to ensure that every Ontarian who wants one has a primary care provider.
- A commitment to work together to improve access to primary care for patients, including same day/next day visits for urgent conditions and primary care coverage on evenings, weekends and holidays.
- Co-management of the Physician Services Budget that would allow both parties to work together to jointly identify savings, update fee codes and account for technological change, among other measures.
- One-time funding in each year of the agreement to further support health care priorities for patients.
“The proposed agreement is the result of much discussion, and goes to members with the commitment that Ontario’s doctors can continue to do what they do best, care for patients, with a reasonable expectation that there will be no more unilateral action from government,” said Dr Virginia Walley, president of the Ontario Medical Association. “It means that physicians and government can once again work together on important system changes that will entrench stability, predictability, and sustainability for patients, physicians and government, now and in the years to come.”
The tentative agreement provides increases to health care investment in Ontario including $50 million in year one, $100 million in year two, $120 million in year three, and $100 million in the final year of the agreement.
As well, protection is included against future unilateral action by the government regardless of the political party in power. It includes the right to file injunctions and the right to an arbitrator.