Here’s looking at you–if the provincial government get its act together

Bloodshot eyes

In the last post about eye care in Ontario, called The Eyes Have It, I informed you about a strike between optometrists and the Ford government in Ontario. Unfortunately, not much has changed. The media doesn’t seem terribly interested in the fact a strike is going on, that very young Ontarians aren’t getting eye examinations they may need badly, that students who have obvious problems seeing the blackboard can’t get an exam, and seniors cannot access a service they really need (How old is you driver Doug?). In short any OHIP-covered patients including kids, teens, seniors, people receiving ODSP or OW support, and people with eye diseases or diabetes cannot get an eye exam.

In 2011 the previous arrangement between the provincial government and the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) came to an end. Between then and now, the current provincial government did nothing to avert a strike. This is not an issue Doug Ford cannot blame on another political party. When he became premier of Ontario it became his problem, and he did what he does best – he ignored the problem till there was no alternative but for the OAO to start a job action. In other words because of Fords inaction they were forced to go on on strike.

children-two

Here’s a video where the minister of Health Christine Elliott can be seen dancing around a very straight forward question regarding eye care in Ontario.   https://youtu.be/CiBXDB6eD20?t=2415 .

It’s an uncomfortably long video, but if you fast forward to the 40:15 point you’ll discover how confusing her response is. If you have insomnia this should cure it. A much shorter video (4:36 seconds) can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9cbzsuMt84.

Let’s cut through the baloney, misinformation, and screwed up “facts” from Health Minister and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott

Christine Elliott, 66, senior

  • Number of days the Ministry of Health stayed in mediation with OAO before THEY walked away from the table in August: 2

  • Number of counter-offers the Ministry of Health gave the OAO after they’re FIRST and only proposed offer was made during those 2 days of mediated negotiations: 0

  • If the Health Minister and Deputy Premier need new glasses to read SHE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO GET AN EYE EXAM. She’s a senior. The longer she drags this issue out the more her eyesight will deteriorate.

  • The number of phone calls and/or emails the OAO has received from the Ministry of Health to return to the table since seniors and children have lost access to eyecare two months ago: 0 – Zero.

  • The OAO is still waiting for Minister Elliott’s team to return to the bargaining table, while they remain focused on making publicity stunts and publicizing “alternate facts” in the media.

  • It is not fair nor reasonable to expect optometrists to pay out of pocket to provide OHIP-insured services.

  • Ontario optometrists provide over 4 million OHIP-insured eye care services ANNUALLY. In the last decade, Ontario optometrists provided over 34 million OHIP-insured eye care services. $39 million divided among 34 million services is a paltry $1.15 per service. An indication of what the government thinks of this job action.

  • Doug Ford has said countless times (and if you include audio-visual clips from the media played thousands of times) that he is for “the little guy”. The “little guy” needs they’re eyes examined. Be a leader and settle this job action. Your actions will determine how many people vote, and an election is just a few months away.

  • Optometrists did not ask for a retroactive payment at all but instead asked for any payment be put toward investing in a sustainable eye care system for the future.

  • The government imposed the payment but did not consult with optometrists as to how to distribute the payment. The government sent money to optometrists who have moved, retired and died. (You can tell this is a government operation).

  • The one-time payment does nothing to solve the eye care crisis and is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

  • Physician compensation and optometrist compensation is not an “apples-to-apples” comparison for various reasons. One such reason: Ontario physicians are the second-highest paid physicians in all of Canada; meanwhile, Ontario optometrists receive the lowest compensation rates across the country.

  • The Ministry of Health was asked to participate in a cost analysis study of overhead expenses for providing eye exams in December 2020; however, the Ministry of Health declined to participate. (The Ministry wants to be able to say “you paid for the study, so naturally it will say what you want it to say”).

  • As baby boomers enter into their senior years of life, they have an increased risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. A surge in seniors with more complex eye care needs is inundating optometry offices.

images (1)Just remember, if your child thinks your glasses are a toy and you need new ones, forget that idea. You’ll need an exam. Especially if you’ve been in an accident.

89babd06bb64d8fdcfa303fdf70319ad41c87c03-image5Students who can’t read their laptop have only the provincial government to thank for their lousy grades. In-class or virtual, if you can’t see what’s in front of you means you’re screwed. And you can thank the ministry of heath for that.

In summary…

Christine Elliott, our minister of health, will probably continue to muddy the waters, fabricate so called “truths”, manufacture “facts”, and mangle reality beyond all recognition. My eye doctor hoped this job action would have been over in early fall. No such luck. Christine Elliott, and the ministry of health, have been uncommunicative as usual. Doug Ford will probably swoop in just weeks before the election, and straighten out the Elliott-induced catastrophe. Jus remember Doug…voters are watching. And angry voters don’t vote the way you want them to.

lookin' at you

Watching and waiting Doug. And waiting…and waiting…and waiting.      

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