Ontario doctors ratify deal with province
'E-consultations' among modernized services
Shortening annual physicals and reducing tests for healthy adult patients are some of the ways the province will save $400 million after Ontario's doctors endorsed a new deal.
The agreement was accepted by 81 per cent of the nearly 21,000 doctors who voted, according to the Ontario Medical Association.
The deal, worth $11.1 billion per year, will save the $400 million by instituting a half a per cent payment cut for doctors and "modernizing" how services are delivered.
The deal announced Sunday will let patients speak to doctors more easily through "e-consultations," for example.
Total payments to physicians will actually rise by $100 million as new doctors are brought on, said Health Minister Deb Matthews, but that increase will be offset by the savings.
The agreement is effective from October 2011 to March 31, 2014. New funding will be put into house calls to seniors and high-need patients.
A tentative agreement was reached last month after the two sides returned to the bargaining table following a dispute over regulatory changes to cut Ontario Health Insurance Plan fees and premiums.
"Ontario's doctors demonstrated tremendous leadership by being active partners in helping the province with its fiscal challenges," OMA president Dr. Doug Weir is quoted saying in a media release.