Ontario Optometrists and Government Enter Negotiations
TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2021 /CNW/ – The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) and the Ministry of Health have agreed to enter formal negotiations regarding OHIP funding of optometric care. As a sign of good faith, the OAO is pausing its job action as of November 23, 2021, ensuring that millions of Ontarians insured by OHIP can again benefit from the expertise of their optometrist during these negotiations.
On October 6th, Minister Elliott stated in the Ontario Legislature: “We don’t expect optometrists to pay out of pocket for the services that they provide,” offering a public commitment that the government will ensure that the cost of delivering OHIP-insured services is not borne by optometrists. The OAO is committed to negotiating a sustainable funding model that aligns with how optometric care is funded in other Canadian jurisdictions.
The OAO expects robust talks to begin immediately, noting that the swift resolution of this issue is a top priority for both optometrists and their patients.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF OPTOMETRISTS:
The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is the leading professional organization, representing over 1,800 optometrists. We are dedicated to helping our members provide the highest standard of eye health and vision care for Ontarians while driving the profession of optometry forward.
"Ontario Optometrists don't want to withdraw from OHIP" - OAO (Ontario Assocation of Optometrists)
We are in this together! As eye care providers we are fully invested in saving eye care - not just for the sake of our patients, but because we ARE eye care in Ontario. Eye care supports us and our families and making it sustainable is important to us all.
September 1st Job Action
Beginning September 1st, Optometrists across Ontario will stop providing OHIP insured eye exams for children, seniors and adults with OHIP covered Eye Conditions.
Why Job Action?
For over 30 years, successive Ontario governments have ignored Optometrists. In 1989 the fee paid for an OHIP insured eye exam was $39.15; today, over 32 years later, it is on average $44.65. This has not kept up with inflation and does not come close to covering the cost (including rent, staff, utilities, equipment, taxes and supplies) to provide an eye exam. Every time we perform an OHIP insured eye exam we do so at a loss. This is not sustainable.
ONTARIO IS THE LOWEST PAID IN CANADA. Our fees would have to increase by over 60% to reach the next lowest province. The bar graph here compares Ontario to other provinces that fully fund eye care.
The Government's Offer
You may have read the government has offered us an 8.48% increase in our fees. For a senior’s eye exam that would raise our fee to $51.00. While that seems generous, it still leaves us more than 30% lower than Manitoba, the next lowest paid province. Unfortunately, an 8.48% increase does not make up for 32 years of neglect.
We need government to prioritize and properly fund eye care to make it sustainable for years to come.
How Does This Affect Me?
If you are a senior (65+), a child (19 and under) and have an OHIP coverage or an adult with OHIP covered eye conditions we will not be able to see you. If you have an appointment booked during job action our team will reach out to you and put you on a priority booking list so we can see you when job action is over. You will be contacted the Friday before your appointment in the event your appointment needs to be cancelled due to job action.
If you are between the ages of 20 – 64 (and do not have an OHIP covered condition) or do not have OHIP coverage, we can still see you for an eye exam.
Regardless of age, if you have an eye emergency we will ensure you get taken care of.
CAN I PAY FOR MY EYE EXAM?
No. Unfortunately, provincial law prevents anyone from paying for any OHIP insured service, even if you have your own insurance.
You can trust us for safe, comprehensive eye care
EyeWorld Optometry clinic is now seeing patients at reduced volumes. Your safety is our priority. We have implemented guidelines and measures to reduce risk and maintain a safe environment. Please note that our office door remains locked during office hours and all visits are by APPOINTMENT ONLY.
The health of you and your family is our top priority, which is why we have implemented a new examination process with enhanced safety procedures. You can trust us to provide you with comprehensive eye care and peace of mind in a safe clinic environment. Doctors and staff will now wear face masks and other personal protective equipment, in addition to adopting rigorous disinfection procedures. All our processes go above the standards set by local health authorities and depend on minimizing the time patients spend in our clinics. All our staff have been thoroughly trained and are intent on providing the safest and best of patient care.