Physiotherapists take complaints to Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal candidate’s door

News Jul 22, 2013 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Physiotherapists staged a demonstration outside the office of Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal candidate Mitzie Hunter last Friday hoping to halt changes they say will put thousands across Ontario out of jobs and leave seniors without weekly free treatments many depend on.

The province’s health ministry says it is expanding service across the province on Aug. 1, but health professionals working with the current system of physiotherapy clinics say the new system will actually cut current spending on physiotherapy.

Their anxiety and anger over the change has attached itself to the Scarborough-Guildwood provincial byelection.

“I think people who are thinking of voting Liberal need to know,” said Tony Melles, executive director of the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics’ Association, which brought protestors to Hunter’s office, charging 3,000 physiotherapy workers “will be out of a job” on Aug. 1 and that arranging new physio providers for 35,000 seniors in retirement homes, supportive housing or their own homes could take months.

Dimitra Liadis, a physiotherapist at the Sts. Peter and Paul Residence who protested last week, said she has laid off four assistants and is preparing to close the clinic she has operated in the Milner Avenue retirement home since 2003.

“It’s a disguise for a huge cut. That’s all it is,” Liadis said of the new provincial strategy, which she argues abandons regular maintenance of mobility and strength in the elderly - until now eligible for free sessions up to twice a week - in favour of more restricted “episodic care.”

Liadis said her clinic has 100 active patients, half of which are living through subsidies at the home and cannot afford to pay for treatment privately. The Central East Community Care Access Centre will treat only 10 per cent - those that are immobile - with others expected to go to an off-site community clinic, “which they won’t,” she said.

“They’ll be discharged Aug. 1 into nothing.”

Hunter’s campaign spokesperson said the candidate was not at the office when the protestors arrived, but later tried to call them. In a statement, though, Hunter said the system must change.

“Year over year, the health payout for physiotherapy continues to be greater than what is allocated in the budget for physiotherapy,” the statement said.

“Moving forward, government will now directly fund physiotherapy and exercise services for seniors and actually will be expanding availability across Ontario, and ultimately serve more seniors.”

In an interview this month, Minister of Health Deb Matthews said the province is doubling the number of people who have access to its physiotherapy services, arguing the new system will give the province better value for money and provide physiotherapy to all who need it.

“If they can’t get to a clinic, they will receive it at home.”

Matthews also said four large companies had bought most of the contracts for OHIP-billing designated physiotherapy clinics, which have provided service for decades but concentrated it mainly in southern Ontario. “It’s definitely a difficult time for these companies,” she said.

Melles said the clinics will be contracted to provide service at some retirement homes or other venues they serve now, but on a capped basis. There is confusion about where service will continue or won’t, he said.

The association, he added, will try a court challenge Thursday, July 25, to quash the new system or delay the Aug. 1 changeover date.

Worries over continued service are not restricted to seniors.

Terry Walker, a middle-aged Scarborough man who has neurological damage, said he goes to a clinic in Bloor West Village twice a week for exercises, electrical stimulation and ultrasound on one knee.

“I know it helps me because I never used to be able to stand for very long,” he said.

Walker is signing people to a petition calling on the province to review and reverse the decision. “They’re telling me (at the clinic) I only get 12 visits a year” under the new system, said the Birch Cliff man, who said he doesn’t have the money to pay for private treatments.

Letters written last month by the president of Villa Elegance, a Kennedy Road condominium which functions much like a retirement home for Chinese seniors and has physiotherapy sessions for residents on its first floor, brought responses from Opposition health critics critical of the new provincial system.  

“Simply put, the only way the government can manage expanding coverage while reducing the budget is to cut services to Ontarians who currently depend on multiple treatments annually,” said Christine Elliot, the Progressive Conservative critic and deputy leader.

Elliot said the party has asked Matthews to delay the “short-sighted” changes, “until there has been proper consultation and a guarantee that seniors will not have their physiotherapy services cut.”

On Monday, Adam Giambrone, Hunter’s New Democratic Party opponent, said the topic is being raised at assisted care facilities he visits. The government’s cuts are not worth the small amount of money they will save, he said.

“This is what keeps people mobile, keeps their lives more comfortable.”

A spokesperson said the Central East Local Health Integration Network, supervisor of health care in Scarborough, is posting information on its website (www.centraleastlhin.on.ca/report_display.aspx?id=27054) as it becomes available, but added the ministry is directly responsible for changes to the designated clinics.

The ministry, which posts information on the new system at www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/physio/more.aspx said the changes will indeed be implemented on Aug. 1 but “the expansion of clinic services will be rolled out throughout the fall.”

“Ontario is committed to consulting with patients, health care partners and service providers to ensure those with the greatest need benefit from these improvements,” it added in a statement.

Physiotherapists take complaints to Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal candidate’s door

News Jul 22, 2013 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Physiotherapists staged a demonstration outside the office of Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal candidate Mitzie Hunter last Friday hoping to halt changes they say will put thousands across Ontario out of jobs and leave seniors without weekly free treatments many depend on.

The province’s health ministry says it is expanding service across the province on Aug. 1, but health professionals working with the current system of physiotherapy clinics say the new system will actually cut current spending on physiotherapy.

Their anxiety and anger over the change has attached itself to the Scarborough-Guildwood provincial byelection.

“I think people who are thinking of voting Liberal need to know,” said Tony Melles, executive director of the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics’ Association, which brought protestors to Hunter’s office, charging 3,000 physiotherapy workers “will be out of a job” on Aug. 1 and that arranging new physio providers for 35,000 seniors in retirement homes, supportive housing or their own homes could take months.

Dimitra Liadis, a physiotherapist at the Sts. Peter and Paul Residence who protested last week, said she has laid off four assistants and is preparing to close the clinic she has operated in the Milner Avenue retirement home since 2003.

“It’s a disguise for a huge cut. That’s all it is,” Liadis said of the new provincial strategy, which she argues abandons regular maintenance of mobility and strength in the elderly - until now eligible for free sessions up to twice a week - in favour of more restricted “episodic care.”

Liadis said her clinic has 100 active patients, half of which are living through subsidies at the home and cannot afford to pay for treatment privately. The Central East Community Care Access Centre will treat only 10 per cent - those that are immobile - with others expected to go to an off-site community clinic, “which they won’t,” she said.

“They’ll be discharged Aug. 1 into nothing.”

Hunter’s campaign spokesperson said the candidate was not at the office when the protestors arrived, but later tried to call them. In a statement, though, Hunter said the system must change.

“Year over year, the health payout for physiotherapy continues to be greater than what is allocated in the budget for physiotherapy,” the statement said.

“Moving forward, government will now directly fund physiotherapy and exercise services for seniors and actually will be expanding availability across Ontario, and ultimately serve more seniors.”

In an interview this month, Minister of Health Deb Matthews said the province is doubling the number of people who have access to its physiotherapy services, arguing the new system will give the province better value for money and provide physiotherapy to all who need it.

“If they can’t get to a clinic, they will receive it at home.”

Matthews also said four large companies had bought most of the contracts for OHIP-billing designated physiotherapy clinics, which have provided service for decades but concentrated it mainly in southern Ontario. “It’s definitely a difficult time for these companies,” she said.

Melles said the clinics will be contracted to provide service at some retirement homes or other venues they serve now, but on a capped basis. There is confusion about where service will continue or won’t, he said.

The association, he added, will try a court challenge Thursday, July 25, to quash the new system or delay the Aug. 1 changeover date.

Worries over continued service are not restricted to seniors.

Terry Walker, a middle-aged Scarborough man who has neurological damage, said he goes to a clinic in Bloor West Village twice a week for exercises, electrical stimulation and ultrasound on one knee.

“I know it helps me because I never used to be able to stand for very long,” he said.

Walker is signing people to a petition calling on the province to review and reverse the decision. “They’re telling me (at the clinic) I only get 12 visits a year” under the new system, said the Birch Cliff man, who said he doesn’t have the money to pay for private treatments.

Letters written last month by the president of Villa Elegance, a Kennedy Road condominium which functions much like a retirement home for Chinese seniors and has physiotherapy sessions for residents on its first floor, brought responses from Opposition health critics critical of the new provincial system.  

“Simply put, the only way the government can manage expanding coverage while reducing the budget is to cut services to Ontarians who currently depend on multiple treatments annually,” said Christine Elliot, the Progressive Conservative critic and deputy leader.

Elliot said the party has asked Matthews to delay the “short-sighted” changes, “until there has been proper consultation and a guarantee that seniors will not have their physiotherapy services cut.”

On Monday, Adam Giambrone, Hunter’s New Democratic Party opponent, said the topic is being raised at assisted care facilities he visits. The government’s cuts are not worth the small amount of money they will save, he said.

“This is what keeps people mobile, keeps their lives more comfortable.”

A spokesperson said the Central East Local Health Integration Network, supervisor of health care in Scarborough, is posting information on its website (www.centraleastlhin.on.ca/report_display.aspx?id=27054) as it becomes available, but added the ministry is directly responsible for changes to the designated clinics.

The ministry, which posts information on the new system at www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/physio/more.aspx said the changes will indeed be implemented on Aug. 1 but “the expansion of clinic services will be rolled out throughout the fall.”

“Ontario is committed to consulting with patients, health care partners and service providers to ensure those with the greatest need benefit from these improvements,” it added in a statement.

Physiotherapists take complaints to Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal candidate’s door

News Jul 22, 2013 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Physiotherapists staged a demonstration outside the office of Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal candidate Mitzie Hunter last Friday hoping to halt changes they say will put thousands across Ontario out of jobs and leave seniors without weekly free treatments many depend on.

The province’s health ministry says it is expanding service across the province on Aug. 1, but health professionals working with the current system of physiotherapy clinics say the new system will actually cut current spending on physiotherapy.

Their anxiety and anger over the change has attached itself to the Scarborough-Guildwood provincial byelection.

“I think people who are thinking of voting Liberal need to know,” said Tony Melles, executive director of the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics’ Association, which brought protestors to Hunter’s office, charging 3,000 physiotherapy workers “will be out of a job” on Aug. 1 and that arranging new physio providers for 35,000 seniors in retirement homes, supportive housing or their own homes could take months.

Dimitra Liadis, a physiotherapist at the Sts. Peter and Paul Residence who protested last week, said she has laid off four assistants and is preparing to close the clinic she has operated in the Milner Avenue retirement home since 2003.

“It’s a disguise for a huge cut. That’s all it is,” Liadis said of the new provincial strategy, which she argues abandons regular maintenance of mobility and strength in the elderly - until now eligible for free sessions up to twice a week - in favour of more restricted “episodic care.”

Liadis said her clinic has 100 active patients, half of which are living through subsidies at the home and cannot afford to pay for treatment privately. The Central East Community Care Access Centre will treat only 10 per cent - those that are immobile - with others expected to go to an off-site community clinic, “which they won’t,” she said.

“They’ll be discharged Aug. 1 into nothing.”

Hunter’s campaign spokesperson said the candidate was not at the office when the protestors arrived, but later tried to call them. In a statement, though, Hunter said the system must change.

“Year over year, the health payout for physiotherapy continues to be greater than what is allocated in the budget for physiotherapy,” the statement said.

“Moving forward, government will now directly fund physiotherapy and exercise services for seniors and actually will be expanding availability across Ontario, and ultimately serve more seniors.”

In an interview this month, Minister of Health Deb Matthews said the province is doubling the number of people who have access to its physiotherapy services, arguing the new system will give the province better value for money and provide physiotherapy to all who need it.

“If they can’t get to a clinic, they will receive it at home.”

Matthews also said four large companies had bought most of the contracts for OHIP-billing designated physiotherapy clinics, which have provided service for decades but concentrated it mainly in southern Ontario. “It’s definitely a difficult time for these companies,” she said.

Melles said the clinics will be contracted to provide service at some retirement homes or other venues they serve now, but on a capped basis. There is confusion about where service will continue or won’t, he said.

The association, he added, will try a court challenge Thursday, July 25, to quash the new system or delay the Aug. 1 changeover date.

Worries over continued service are not restricted to seniors.

Terry Walker, a middle-aged Scarborough man who has neurological damage, said he goes to a clinic in Bloor West Village twice a week for exercises, electrical stimulation and ultrasound on one knee.

“I know it helps me because I never used to be able to stand for very long,” he said.

Walker is signing people to a petition calling on the province to review and reverse the decision. “They’re telling me (at the clinic) I only get 12 visits a year” under the new system, said the Birch Cliff man, who said he doesn’t have the money to pay for private treatments.

Letters written last month by the president of Villa Elegance, a Kennedy Road condominium which functions much like a retirement home for Chinese seniors and has physiotherapy sessions for residents on its first floor, brought responses from Opposition health critics critical of the new provincial system.  

“Simply put, the only way the government can manage expanding coverage while reducing the budget is to cut services to Ontarians who currently depend on multiple treatments annually,” said Christine Elliot, the Progressive Conservative critic and deputy leader.

Elliot said the party has asked Matthews to delay the “short-sighted” changes, “until there has been proper consultation and a guarantee that seniors will not have their physiotherapy services cut.”

On Monday, Adam Giambrone, Hunter’s New Democratic Party opponent, said the topic is being raised at assisted care facilities he visits. The government’s cuts are not worth the small amount of money they will save, he said.

“This is what keeps people mobile, keeps their lives more comfortable.”

A spokesperson said the Central East Local Health Integration Network, supervisor of health care in Scarborough, is posting information on its website (www.centraleastlhin.on.ca/report_display.aspx?id=27054) as it becomes available, but added the ministry is directly responsible for changes to the designated clinics.

The ministry, which posts information on the new system at www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/physio/more.aspx said the changes will indeed be implemented on Aug. 1 but “the expansion of clinic services will be rolled out throughout the fall.”

“Ontario is committed to consulting with patients, health care partners and service providers to ensure those with the greatest need benefit from these improvements,” it added in a statement.