Wilson: Physiotherapy Cuts Will Have a Devastating Impact on Seniors
(May 31, 2013) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson was at the Riverwood Retirement Home in Alliston on Friday morning to discuss the Liberal government’s planned cuts to physiotherapy services. The Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association describes the changes as a $44 million funding reduction in physiotherapy.
“The numbers are startling--100 visits down to six--it’s almost unbelievable,” said Wilson. “I’m concerned that this will lead to more falls, more fractures and more respiratory conditions causing more hospitalizations and additional costs to the system.”
The Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association explains that the Liberals changes will reduce services for seniors in long term care homes by 47% and the number of physiotherapy visits for seniors in retirement homes by 94%. They also note that most seniors will no longer qualify for treatment in their homes as the new guidelines will force seniors to attend external community clinics.
“The Ministry is creating another layer of bureaucracy in physiotherapy with these changes,” said Wilson. “Instead of receiving services directly from healthcare professionals and having it billed to OHIP, patients will have to go through their Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) to receive the same care from the same provider. It will increase the cost per visit from $12.20 to $120.”
Wilson was particularly irritated that the changes were made by the Liberals without any stakeholder consultation and are still going ahead despite vast opposition from physiotherapists. According to a local physiotherapist these changes will move treatment from a preventative model that stops falls and keeps people active to a reactive model that treats people only after an injury has occurred.
“This is a small amount of money when you think of the billions that have been wasted on scandals by this Liberal government,” said Wilson. “If they have the money to further their own partisan political interests then they have the money to take care for our seniors. They need to make seniors a priority.”