Is the Ontario Government Affecting Your Health Care and You Don’t Know it?
Most people care about their health and what affects it. They know that their Doctor is their life line to good health. They also know how hard it can be to find a doctor that will provide that care for them. So in general there is no shopping around when it comes to your health care professional. When you find a doctor that is willing or able to take you on as a patient no doubt you are most thankful.
While the shortage of doctors has been swept under the rug here in Ontario which is not unusual at times for this province, it apparently is still a very serious problem. It is estimated that 800,000 Ontarians do not have their own family doctor. So the question should still be raised as to why is this? Is this no longer a profession of choice? Are there not as many students wanting to enter the field of medicine? Perhaps the Ontario government would like you to believe this but before jumping to that conclusion there are some other factors you need to take into consideration. It is said that Ontario has the fewest doctors per capita in comparison to any other province and we are tied with Saskatchewan for last place.
While we cannot directly blame our current premier for this the cause can be traced back to the 1990’s to the Rae government, which was the NDP era. They adopted the concept that our health care costs were too high because of too many doctors ordering too many tests as well as ordering too much medicine and performing too many procedures. This government at that time took the steps necessary to slow down the number of graduates becoming doctors. Instead of saving money patients now had to flood the emergency departments for health care, which only served to increase the costs.
The end result is doctors were displayed as being greedy, over paid and really didn’t care about their patients in general. Yet, on a more accurate note it should have been perceived as the inefficiency of the government, and misuse of the resources the government was in control of.
So we can say that was then, and this is now and expect the government in office here in Ontario will surely take steps to rectify the problem. Is this happening though?
Well it would seem that we actually have doctors who really want to work but can’t find employment! This however is in reference to the specialities and not the general practice physicians. We all know that there is a long waiting list for some medical specialities. So how in the world could there be doctors out of work?
Overall in Canada there are more doctors, but that doesn’t help those who are in areas where there is still a shortage.
Jumping over to another problem is the cut backs to what Doctors are being paid. Currently your family doctor would receive $33.70 for a visit that you have made to them. So let’s say on an average your visit took about 20 minutes. The doctor sees 3 patients within an hour. The gross amount they received for that one hour would be $101.10. Now you may be thinking you wouldn’t mind having a job that paid that per hour.
However, you have to realize that this is gross. What is forgotten is that medicine is also a business which comes with business costs. Out of that hourly amount the physicians have their overhead such as the premises they work out of and all of the costs that come from that. Then there are the staff costs on top of this. They have to have at least a receptionist and most offices have a nurse.
Doing a rough calculation:
Daily cost for premises: $150.
Daily cost for utilities: $ 50.
Daily cost for staff : $264.
Assuming the doctor saw 3 patients per hour in a 8 hour day, the gross would be: $808.80. We have not calculated in here any breaks for the doctor, or for the patients that demand more than 20 minutes of their time.
We have now reduced the doctor’s gross hourly income to $43.10. However, let’s not forget that on top of this they have membership fees they have to pay, and most likely many are still paying off horrendous student loans that take years to pay. On top of this they must have malpractice insurance. In most cases the doctor’s office has to have a EMR system for billing, which again is another cost.
For the year before taxes the doctor would make approx. $86,000. and after taxes this would be about $66,000.
Imagine being paid $86,000. a year for the amount of responsibility that is being placed on one physician by so many patients. Can anyone say that they are truly being over paid?
To top it off now the premier of Ontario wants to cut back their per visit by 1.3%. How fair is that, and it makes one wonder if it were suggested that the Premier take a 1.3% cut how would she feel?