Ontario to Provide More Publicly-Funded Health Services at Private Clinics

The Province of Ontario will soon begin to fund procedures such as cataract surgeries and MRI and CT scans at private clinics and centres.

Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones made the announcement at a news conference this morning.

The province says it is undertaking a three-step plan that will speed up how quickly people are able to get surgeries and procedures using their health card.

The first step includes whittling down the existing backlog for cataract surgeries, which has one of the longest waits for procedures. Community surgical and diagnostic centres in Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa will add 14,000 additional cataract surgeries each year; up to 25% of the province’s current cataract waitlist, and accounts for the estimated COVID-related backlog of cataract surgeries.

As well, Ontario is investing more than $18 million in existing centres to cover care for thousands of patients needing MRI and CT scans, cataract and other ophthalmic surgeries, minimally invasive gynecological surgeries and plastic surgeries such as hand soft tissue repair.

The province says barring operational issues, it expects surgical wait lists to return to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023.

Step Two, according to a press release, expands the scope of the private centres to continue to focus on cataracts, MRI and CT scans, as well as colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures.

In 2024, the province says it will expand surgeries for hip and knee replacements.

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