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Enhancing Access to OHIP-Funded Physiotherapy to Vulnerable Seniors in Underserviced Areas across Ontario

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/23/12 -- Funding currently provided for physiotherapy services in Ontario could go further, benefitting thousands of seniors, according to Ontario's leading physiotherapy organization. The proposal released today by the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association (DPCA) provides solutions that will expand access while helping the government address fiscal challenges.

"We can improve the issue of accessibility because we have over 3,000 physiotherapy staff in all corners of the province," says Tony Melles, Executive Director of the DPCA. "At the same time we have seven specific ways to get more service out of the money that the government is already spending on physiotherapy. By partnering with government, we can leverage existing infrastructure and our physiotherapy resources to address the inequity of access across Ontario."

Currently thousands of ambulatory seniors cannot access OHIP-funded physiotherapy treatment despite the fact that physiotherapy has demonstrated clinical benefits and is a cost effective way to keep seniors healthy. "We support the strategies that the Ontario Government is advancing to keep our seniors healthy and out of hospital," said Melles. "Physiotherapy helps to prevent falls which is a major source of hospitalization with seniors. Avoiding unnecessary visits to hospitals translates into significant savings for government."

The DPCA proposes to work with Retirement Residences, Seniors Activity Centres, Long-Term Care Homes and other community resources whose facilities would act as a "hub" for ambulatory seniors, expanding access to OHIP-funded physiotherapy across Ontario. Among the dozens of potential communities where access would be enhanced are: Ajax, Brockville, Cobourg, Collingwood, Huntsville, Mississauga, North Bay, Owen Sound, Peterborough, Pickering, Port Hope, St Catharines, Thunder Bay, and Whitby.

Recognizing the tremendous fiscal pressure that the government is under and the challenges of servicing an aging population, the DPCA offer includes specific proposals to leverage existing physiotherapy spending in order to address long standing problems of equitable access across Ontario.

Fiscal Strategies:


1.  Extend the freeze on the per-treatment fee at $ 12.20 through 2014/2015.
2.  Optimize existing physiotherapy funding in order to offset costs of
    increasing access. 
3.  While the vast majority of services rendered are on a 1-to-1 basis, DPCA
    proposes to bring "patient to physiotherapy ratios" for group classes in
    Retirement Residences in line with the ratios used in Long Term Care
    Homes (4-to-1). 
4.  Introduce new Clinical Guidelines to assess the continued need for
    physiotherapy, to ensure that only those who require physiotherapy
    receive it. 
5.  Cut the cost of providing home-based physiotherapy by 50% by delivering
    through DPCs. 
6.  Provide up to 4 weeks of post-surgical rehab on discharge from hospital
    through DPCs for a fee of $360. 
7.  Establish a permanent working group with the Government to manage costs
    within a fixed budget. 

"The evidence is in, and it's compelling," said Melles. "DPC Physiotherapists help heal injuries, improve mobility, stability and quality of life. They significantly reduce the number of falls suffered by the elderly and keep seniors in their homes and out of hospitals. DPC Physiotherapy is a central pillar of Ontario's health care system, ensuring that seniors age in place successfully. This proposal, in partnership with government, would facilitate better care for Ontario's seniors while at the same time contribute to fiscal certainty for the Government."

About Designated Physiotherapy Clinics (DPC's):

The province's 94 OHIP-funded Designated Physiotherapy Clinics (DPCs) have provided high-quality, low-cost care to over 150,000 Ontario seniors, children, welfare recipients and disabled persons each year in community clinics, Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Residences for almost 50 years. DPC Physiotherapists provide high-quality, safe and effective treatment on a fee-for-service basis in Ontario for only $12.20 per treatment.

To view the backgrounder associated with this release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/DPCAAccessBACKGROUNDER.pdf.

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association
Tony Melles, Executive Director
416-322-7284
info@dpca.ca
www.dpca.ca

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