Ontario’s Bill 60 makes access to medical procedures ‘faster and easier’

Ontario’s Bill 60 makes access to medical procedures ‘faster and easier’

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The Minister of Health’s spokesperson noted ‘more work needs to be done’ to improve the current system and Bill 60 moves toward that goal

A spokesperson for Ontario’s Minister of Health assured that if Bill passes 60, citizens will access medical services with their OHIP card, not out of pocket.

“Our government knows the wait times for surgeries and diagnostic tests have been increasing year after year. We are not okay with the status quo and know more work needs to be done,” said Hannah Jensen, a spokesperson for Sylvia Jones, the Deputy Premiere and Minister of Health.

Ontario’s proposed Bill 60, also known as Your Health Act, is part of the government’s new health care strategy as outlined in Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care which was released on February 2, 2023.

This is the plan, in part, allowed pharmacists the power to prescribe, and Bill 60 will allow for other significant changes to how Ontarians access health care services. One change that is garnering criticism from the North Bay Health Coalition is the Bill will allow for more private clinics to offer more medical services.

Ontario’s Health Coalition worries this increase in privatization could take away resources from our public health sector.

See: North Bay Health Coalition continues fight against Bill 60

Jensen clarified that with the plan, “we are further leveraging the community and surgical diagnostic clinics to eliminate the surgical backlog and reduce wait times to connect Ontarians for more convenient care closer to home.”

“To support this,” she continued, “our government introduced the Your Health Act (Bill 60), which, if passed, will strengthen oversight of community surgical arrangements while protecting the stability of doctors, nurses and other health-care workers in our healthcare system.”

Furthermore, the new bill will “put into law that people will always access insured services at community surgical and diagnostic centers with their OHIP card and never their credit card, consistent with the Canada Health Act.”

Jensen added that “some examples of new measures to create a robust framework for the oversight of community and surgical diagnostic centres, as outlined in Bill 60 (if passed), include providing ample information to the OHIP insured patient about uninsured services, including costs, by posting this in the clinic as well as online and obtaining documented consent from the patient prior to receiving any uninsured service.”

All community and surgical diagnostic centers will have to submit a “detailed staffing model” when applying for a license to operate “as well as how it consulted with the health system, including public hospitals, in the development of its application.

Bill 60, if passed, also includes these centers under the oversight of Ontario’s patient ombudsman.

“Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care will put Ontarians back in charge of their health, making it easier and more convenient to navigate care at every stage of their life with their OHIP card, not their credit card,” Jensen said.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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