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News Release

Medical Reform Group Condemns
OMA Council's Betrayal of Membership

July 7, 1994

In a decision as undemocratic as it is unwise, the Ontario Medical Association Council has decided on a formula for a Social Contract "holdback" which penalizes lower-billing physicians, including those who take extra time with their patients.

The holdback flows from the OMA's agreement with the Ontario government. This agreement stipulates that physicians must adhere to a billing cap of approximately 3.9 billion dollars. Physicians' billings are expected to be about 2 per cent over that cap in the 1994-95 fiscal year, and so a holdback is required. It is up to the OMA to determine how this holdback should be distributed among physicians.

The OMA surveyed its membership regarding distribution of the holdback. Over 10,000 members responded. The membership strongly supported a sliding scale based on income. This would mean that higher-billing physicians would have more than 2 per cent of their billing held back, and lower-billing physicians less than 2 per cent.

OMA council ignored the results and chose an across-the-board holdback based on gross OHIP payments. This means that each physician will lose 2 per cent of her or his gross income.

The Medical Reform Group, a group of physicians which is critical of the distorting effects of the fee-for-service system of physician remuneration, strongly condemns this undemocratic decision by the OMA Council.

"The decision will be demoralizing for the most conscientious physicians who are already under considerable stress," said MRG spokesperson Dr. Gordon Guyatt, "and therefore could potentially compromise patient care."

For more information contact:

Dr. Gordon Guyatt
Dr. Rosana Pellizzari

Medical Reform Group of Ontario

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