Why Ontario is reducing doctors’ payments for one-off virtual appointments. And what it could mean for your health care.
It’s February, and one week after Ontario’s new health system went online, my doctor’s office is already running a little ahead of schedule.
“Can’t rush the process,” Dr. Mary Ann Kusterer says with a laugh. It’s only a virtual visit, but there is a real exam waiting on my desk, the results ready for me to look at.
It’s hard not to laugh. If you’re like me, you have spent years trying to figure out what this new system, Ontario’s public plans, is really all about.
But the fact that I’m a physician — and that in order to make ends meet, I’ve been making extra runs to her office — says something important.
Ontario is trying to get patients to use their virtual visits as a replacement for getting tested in the clinic setting.
The public plans are trying to reduce costs by getting patients to make more test and appointment-based appointments.
But some patients, like me, don’t know about the new system and don’t understand why it’s different from the status quo.
Or maybe I’m just one of the lucky few that’s not worried about money. I’m not an insurance company. I have no access to patient records for this test. I’m paying for it myself. I’ve never made a one-off appointment to see my family doctor.
I’m worried about making a one-time appointment if I want access to my health care. I’m worried about making a one-time appointment if I want access to my health care.
But, the fact that I’m a physician — and that