Recently, you may have seen news about optometrists in Ontario and wondered how this impacts you and your family. Here at 8 ON SECOND OPTOMETRISTES, your eye care is our number one priority. We want you to know we have a plan to protect access to quality eye care and we are committed to ensuring you get the quality eye care you deserve.
For more than 30 years, the Ontario government has failed to adequately fund eye care. For more than 30 years, the Ontario government has refused to formally negotiate with optometrists.
In 1989, the Ontario government paid $39.15 for an eye exam.
Thirty-two years later, in 2021, the Ontario government pays on average $44.65 for an eye exam.
That fee does not come close to covering the office expenses such as staff, rent, utilities, equipment, and supplies required to provide an eye exam.
The level of funding for OHIP-insured eye exams is not sustainable.
Unfortunately, those who will be impacted the most are the groups OHIP is supposed to protect; our children, seniors and those with existing eye diseases. If the government continues to ignore this issue, Ontario optometrists will be left with no choice but to stop providing OHIP services starting September 1st, 2021.
This means that any person who is OHIP-insured for their eye exam will not be able to see an optometrist, including those 19 years of age and under, 65 years of age and over, and adults with eye diseases related to diabetes, glaucoma and cataracts.
Ontario law makes it illegal for optometrists to accept direct payment or alternate health insurance from OHIP- insure exams. As a result, these patients will simply not be able to book an appointment starting September 1st, 2021.
After more than 30 years of neglect, the Ontario government can still fix this issue. They only need to commit to a formal negotiation that will lead to a solution where optometrists no longer have to pay to provide an eye exam to OHIP insured patients. We are pleading with the Ontario government to act responsibly and avoid any impact to our patients.
At 8 ON SECOND OPTOMETRISTES, we are fighting for your continued access to quality eye care. For those of you who may have existing appointments after September 1st, or for those with eye diseases who require frequent monitoring we understand this is a difficult situation. If the Ontario government allows service to be disrupted, we will contact you to discuss an individual plan to ensure your specific health needs will be taken care of appropriately. We plan to keep you updated on our efforts and we are availabel to answer any questions you may have.
If you or your family uses OHIP-insured services, and you want to help us ensure access to your doctor is not at risk, please visit SaveEyeCare.ca to sign an electronic letter to tell our elected government officials that eye care matters to you!
Dr. Brigitte Dufresne