Ontario released a plan that will see some for-profit community surgical and diagnostic centres take on increased responsibilities. These will include surgeries, screenings and other medical procedures undertaken in not-for-profit and for-profit, private clinics.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones maintains this plan will help reduce wait times and eliminate surgical backlogs.

“We need to be bold, innovative and creative,” she said, confirming that these procedures will continue to be covered under OHIP. Taxpayers will not be billed additional expenses for surgery at for-profit community clinics.

Three Phase Plan

Phase one would be to reduce the waitlist for cataract surgeries, projecting 14,000 more surgeries annually. Rolling out in March 2023, the province will establish new partnerships with community surgical centres in Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa. The province says this represents up to 25 per cent of Ontario’s cataract wait list.

Furthermore, the government will invest more than $18 million in existing centres for other procedural care such as MRI and CT scans, ophthalmic surgeries, and some gynecological and plastic surgeries.

Phase two proposes expanding “non-urgent, low-risk and minimally invasive” procedures. Additional procedures included in this expansion have not yet been clarified.

Phase three will permit private clinics to conduct hip and knee replacement surgeries as early as 2024.

According to polling conducted by Environics Research, nearly eight in ten Ontarians (78%) believe the government should use public money to increase funding for public hospitals and clinics. This could help rebuild capacity instead of redirecting funding to private, for-profit clinics. 59% of Ontarians oppose more involvement by for-profit health care providers as a solution to the problems facing our healthcare system.

Ontario is significantly expanding the number and range of medical procedures performed in privately run clinics. Watch Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Premier Doug Ford explaining how the move is necessary to improve surgery wait times. Courtesy of CBC Television.

Stay tuned to The Health Insider for details on the rollout of this plan and what it means for you, the Ontario Health Consumer.

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