The Ontario Association of Cardiologists (OAC) represents almost 300 of the approximately 400 cardiologists in the Province of Ontario. Our mandate is to protect and improve the current high standard of cardiac care that we provide to our patients.
In today’s uncertain economic and political environment, it is more difficult each day for the cardiologist to deliver the evidence-based medicine to the cardiac patient that are demanded of us by our National and International cardiac societies. The Choosing Wisely strategy in the USA that many of our cardiac societies are actively participating in recognizes the process is not perfect but an excellent start to look at how health care dollars can be better spent. Take a look at the website to see what others are thinking and doing! Choosing Wisely Strategy Website
If we fail to preserve the current level of cardiac care in Ontario then the risks and lives of our patients are jeopardized. This is unacceptable to the OAC.
Cardiologists are cognisant of the need for immediately reducing the costs of unnecessary health care spending in Ontario, and are more than willing to do their part. We want to actively participate in the critical health care transformation initiated by the current Liberal government. What we are not willing to do is accept any change that threatens the lives of our patients or their current level of access to cardiac care wherever the patient lives in the Province of Ontario.
We continue to work proactively with government, and with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), to implement intelligent change to the health care system that significantly reduces costs where possible but only if the changes preserve the current standards and access to cardiac care.
For example, the OAC has recommended the implementation of appropriateness guidelines contained in the new Standards for the Provision of Echocardiography in Ontario document that were presented to government in January 2012. These standards ensure that the right patients are tested, for the right reason, at the right time, in the right place by appropriately-trained people in accredited facilities. These standards improve the quality of cardiac care that is delivered to Ontarians and their implementation saves the Government 44 million dollars/year. A win-win for everyone...
The OAC continues to be active in 2013 maintaining the channels of communication and open dialogue that it successfully established last year with the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance and other key stakeholders in the Government including the health critics and leaders of the opposition parties. This dialogue, the OAC’s public and patient support in 2012, combined with the Government’s acceptance of the OAC’s Plan to save the Government 44 million dollars per year led Government to defer the implementation of the May 2012 new definition for self-referral and thus the subsequent closure of the majority of non-invasive cardiac testing facilities whether they lay in the hospital or community environment did not occur. This is an outstanding example of how patients, cardiologists and Government can work together in a positive way to protect our healthcare system in tough economic times.
We remain confident that by continuing to work in an open collaborative manner with the Government of Ontario and the OMA, together we can implement constructive change within the current economic constraints that will support the OAC mandate of protecting and improving the current high standard of cardiac care that we today provide to our patients.
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