Ontario could be headed for primary care crisis: medical association

OTTAWA — The Ontario Medical Association says a survey of its members shows nearly half the primary-care clinics in the province are at risk of closing their doors because doctors can’t pay the bills.

Most clinics have been serving patients in virtual ways — such as by over the phone — since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada.

The Ontario government created new billing codes to allow doctors to be appropriately paid for those appointments.

But doctors recently discovered the government’s computer system won’t be updated to accommodate the new codes until June or July.

OMA president Dr. Sohail Gandhi says doctors have been left with no way to pay for rent, staff and other expenses.

He fears if clinics start closing their doors, it could lead to a primary-care crisis in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2020.

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