Revealing OHIP billings not helpful

Posted on December 12, 2014 in Health Delivery System – Opinion/Readers’ Letters – Re: Battle over doctor billing secrecy, Dec. 7
Dec 11 2014.   Dr. Ved Tandan

Ontario’s doctors are committed to transparency and accountability, but publishing a list of individual physician OHIP billings is not about accountability. It is also not about transparency. Focusing on this issue creates misunderstanding and does not help our efforts to try to improve the health care system.

OHIP billings are not the same as doctors’ incomes. Billings are calculated before expenses – for example: rent for office space, staff salaries, office and medical supplies, and equipment are paid for from the OHIP billings. For the average physician, a third of OHIP billings go toward overhead expenses.

OHIP billings reflect the increased care necessary to meet the medical needs of a growing and aging population; the reality of underserviced communities where a few physicians are working to care for an entire community; and physicians working to reduce waiting lists so patients can access care sooner.

Those referencing the government “Sunshine List” when discussing this issue are misleading. Physicians are not employees, and as a result, are not afforded the benefits offered to a government employee, including: paid vacation, health and dental benefits, a pension, paid sick leave, an office and support staff. What the public doesn’t see are the costs that go along with the services.

The reality is that because of the dedication of Ontario’s doctors over 2.5 million patients who did not have a family doctor 10 years ago now have one. Over 75 per cent of Ontarians are enroled with a doctor or Family Health Team, which provide comprehensive care outside of the fee-for-service model, giving them more opportunities to get their care from a doctor who knows them and is familiar with their history.

Ontario’s doctors are committed to continuing to work collaboratively to improve access to quality health care services in Ontario. Our patients deserve it.

Dr. Ved Tandan, President, Ontario Medical Association

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