Optometrists everywhere have a story like this. (see my post about cancer found on a routine exam) It’s not just about glasses, eye exams are important for health, even if you can see well. Visit https://saveeyecare.ca and sign the petition, and write to your MPP to protect your family’s access to eye care!
It breaks our hearts to turn people away. We did not take this decision lightly, but it has been decades of neglect. We have tried to take it straight to those in power but successive governments have refused to work with us in good faith. We are still doing our best to triage less urgent concerns to GPs and only sending real potential emergencies to the ER. Help urge the government to acknowledge this issue by entering your name, email, and riding at http:///www.saveeyecare.ca (link) to send a letter to your MPP
OAO FUNDING DISPUTE WITH PROVINCE ESCALATES (Zoomer Radio)
“Our operating costs have skyrocketed, but our reimbursements to see patients has not, so we’re in a scenario where optometrists are paying more than half of the cost to deliver services to patients,” he said. “It’s just not sustainable, and what we’re really concerned about is our practices not being viable in the longer term.”
Ontario’s optometrists are referring patients to hospitals in a bid to address underfunding (link to The Globe and Mail)
Franzmann explained that OHIP “covers” eye examinations for Ontarians who are under 20, 65-plus, who have health conditions like diabetes and glaucoma, and who are on some forms of social assistance. However, the provincial insurance only reimburses optometrists for about half of the actual cost of the service.Franzmann pointed out that over the last 30 years the OHIP rate has only increased by 8 percent while during that same time, inflation has increased by 75 percent….
“The Ontario Association of Ontario (OAO) has determined the basic cost for providing an eye exam is $80.00. OHIP pays $47.00 for a senior’s eye exam, $42.50 for a child’s eye exam, and $43.80 for a patient with an eye disease or diabetes. As you can see, the OHIP remuneration doesn’t cover the cost of providing the service, and the optometrist or clinic is subsidizing the rest.“
“Optometrists can’t reopen practices that have been financially devastated by COVID-19, only to provide OHIP-insured services at an even greater loss. If this happens, practices in both rural and urban communities will struggle to survive.”
PRACTICES IN BOTH RURAL AND URBAN COMMUNITIES WILL STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE
read more at Porch Views: Corrective lenses, COVID-19, OHIP underfunding and the future of eye care (link to article)
For comparison, inflation alone has increased 78.8 per cent since 1989, whereas the funding for OHIP-covered eye exams has only gone up 8.6 per cent for children’s exams, 11.9 per cent for exams for adults with chronic conditions, and 20.1 per cent for exams for seniors
So, optometry is at a crossroads. We are worried that if this chronic underfunding situation is not remedied, optometry clinics will begin closing, and access to primary eye care will become limited across the province. This will put a strain on our health-care system, as many family doctors and/or emergency rooms are already at capacity, and are not necessarily equipped with the appropriate tools to manage patients’ ocular concerns
Statistics show that one in three Ontarians will have some form of vision-threatening eye disease by the age of 65, so finding a sustainable solution is more pressing than ever. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to find a better way forward.Go to saveeyecare.ca to urge Ontario’s government open their eyes to the crisis that eye care in our province is at risk.
Optometrists say provincial underfunding puts eye care at risk (link to the Kingston Whig)