Ontario doctors vote on four year deal, 2.5 per cent fee hike each year- CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Aug 14, 2016

TORONTO _ Doctors voted Sunday on a new fee agreement reached by the Ontario Medical Association and the government, with some urging their colleagues to reject it.

The vote took place during a townhall-style meeting that lasted over four hours, as several doctors took the floor to offer their positive and negative opinions of the agreement.

The four-year deal would increase Ontario’s $11.5-billion physician services budget by 2.5 per cent a year, to $12.9 billion by 2020, and allows doctors to co-manage the system with the Ministry of Health.

The Liberal government imposed fee cuts for some doctors’ services last year, but the new agreement promises no more unilateral cuts over the four years.

However, some doctors are angry that the OMA failed to get agreement on binding arbitration, although the association will continue to fight for that right in court.

The group Concerned Ontario Doctors staged rallies and protest marches urging physicians to vote against the deal, warning it doesn’t provide adequate funding to provide the services patients need.

Radiologist Dr. David Jacobs, chair of diagnostic imaging for the OMA, says no one is asking for a raise from themselves, and what they really want is better funding of health care.

OMA president Virginia Walley says the OMA knows the deal “isn’t perfect,” and that some doctors are angry, especially at what she calls the “disrespect” the government has shown by its unilateral fee cuts.

She says the fee agreement brings funding stability to doctors after two years of uncertainty.

A spokeswoman for the OMA said results of the vote will mostly likely be known by Monday.

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