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Court Ruling Could Change How (and If) You Receive Physio Treatment

Posted by Steve Jones

Thu, Aug 8, 2013

In the coming months, options for receiving physio treatment under OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) could change drastically. A new Ontario regulation that went into effect the beginning of this month is receiving severe backlash from 91 physiotherapy clinics. The regulation, which changes the billing of physio centers to the government, is now overlapped with the previous regulation. A panel of three judges will reside Aug. 21 to resolve the issue. The Report of Kitchener recently detailed the story.

Private physiotherapy clinics have won the first round in a battle with the province after a court ruled the government must keep paying them to provide OHIP-covered services — at least temporarily.

The clinics' victory creates an awkward situation for the province, which must now fund two physiotherapy systems beginning next Thursday — the old OHIP one it wanted to kill on July 31 and its replacement that comes into effect the next day.

"This is procedural. It will make implementation a little more complicated, but we are continuing to move forward with the changes," Health Minister Deb Matthews said after Friday's ruling.

In arguing against the suspension, the province's lawyer, Lise Favreau, warned it would "create chaos" because the systems would overlap.

But Matthews said the province will monitor the situation to ensure no one takes advantage.

"We are going to be watching very, very closely to make sure there is no double billing for any individual or service," she said.

The clinics ultimately want the court to quash a provincial regulation revoking their authority to bill the public health insurance plan. Ontario Divisional Court Justice Tom Lederer said the court needs more time to consider the complicated matter.

He asked the parties to return Aug. 21 when a three-judge panel will review of the matter. In the meantime, Lederer granted the clinics their request for interim relief by suspending the regulation.

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