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Cap on high billers
May 24, 1991
The Medical Reform Group of Ontario, an organization of socially-concerned physicians and medical students, supports the positive features contained in this agreement as a step in the right direction. These include:
The adoption of binding arbitration as a means to settle fee disputes.
The particularly important fact that the medical profession is agreeing to share responsibility for increases in physician charges.
Also important is the restriction of outrageous physician charges to the provincial health care plan. Physicians who selfishly and nearsightedly oppose the pact because of restrictions on incomes over $400,000 threaten the cooperation between government and the medical profession.
Despite its positive features, the present agreement has limitations. The Medical Reform Group believes that the following concerns should be addressed:
Under the terms of the agreement, all physicians will be penalized if collective billings exceed a certain level. This means that responsible hard-working physicians will suffer the same penalties as those who practise "revolving-door medicine". The Medical Reform Group believes that the agreement on fees should be structured to discourage production-line medicine and that penalties should fall on those who exceed the ceilings.
Action is urgently needed to deal with the continuing problem of various kinds of extra charges to patients. The Medical Reform Group believes that physicians should be prohibited from charging any fees to patients for services which flow directly from insured services. Action is needed to research and remedy the widespread use of such charges.
Measures to control health care costs must go hand in hand with appropriate resource allocation. Future agreements should include provisions for increased quality assurance and for improving the efficiency of the health care system.
Members of the Medical Reform Group will be present outside Maple Leaf Gardens at 8:40 a.m. to answer questions from the media.
Dr. Philip Berger
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