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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Regional Ontario Liberals Toast, but Ontario Medical Association now Elephant in Healthcare Room

Regional

Concerned Ontario Doctors
Ontario Liberals Toast, but Ontario Medical Association now Elephant in Healthcare Room

July 9, 2018 (Toronto, ON) - The Ontario Liberals have been defeated and reduced to non-party status, and the Kathleen Wynne government's role in creating the worst health-care crisis in our province's history played a large part in their defeat. However, an elephant in the room remains to be addressed — the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

One year ago this week, we resigned as chairs of the two largest districts of the OMA, having represented approximately 20,000 physicians in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. The OMA has still failed to address and acknowledge the toxic culture that has led to multiple physician resignations from the organization.

The OMA is a 138-year-old bureaucracy with Bloor St. penthouse offices and an entrenched staff of approximately 300. In the past nearly five years that physicians have been without a contract and endured more than $4 billion in unilateral cuts to frontline patient care, Ontario's doctors have still been forced to pay the OMA over $250 million in mandatory government-legislated dues. The disposition of these hundreds of millions is kept secret from the very membership forced to pay these fees. All efforts to gain full financial transparency through the OMA have been blocked. Physicians have instead been subject to bullying and intimidation from OMA staff and leadership to the point that staff and board directors have reported dozens of physicians to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) and thereby threatened physicians' livelihoods, merely for expressing differing opinions.

The root cause of this toxicity is the OMA Dues Act — passed by the Ontario government in 1991 making the OMA the only medical association in Canada with fully mandatory dues with no choice in representation. The OMA's sole purpose was to be the doctors' negotiating body; however, today less than 8% of the $54 million in annual dues goes towards negotiations. The rest funds OMA's ever-growing bureaucracy. In a recent survey of Ontario physicians, 76% report they do not trust the OMA, 8% report being bullied, intimidated or threatened by OMA staff/leadership, and 95% want full financial transparency.

The OMA has operated as a de-facto branch of the Ontario Liberal government for years and aided in the destruction of our health-care system. In August 2016, a Superior Court Judge called the OMA's actions "sneaky" for essentially trying to rig a proxy vote for a physician contract that would have led to further rationing of frontline patient care.

Since 2015, the OMA was complicit as Wynne's government passed five pieces of detrimental health-care legislation leading to the loss of patient privacy, wasteful expansion of health-care bureaucracy, provincial medical standards being dictated by government bureaucrats instead of medical experts, loss of physicians' conscience rights, and loss of physicians' rights to privacy, presumption of innocence, natural justice and due process through regulatory college changes. All opposition to these ominous bills came from frontline physicians led by Concerned Ontario Doctors; only silence was heard from the OMA's ivory tower.

In April 2017, the OMA issued a media statement praising Wynne's provincial budget, despite it containing zero new dollars in funding for frontline patient care provided by physicians. The OMA had recently called council motions for (mandatory or voluntary) disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest out of order. Shortly thereafter, doctors holding elected positions of influence in the OMA, including Board Directors and the very Chair of the OMA Audit Committee, have been appointed by Wynne's government to lucrative Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) positions.

In February 2018, under the leadership of then-president Shawn Whatley and president-elect Nadia Alam, the OMA withdrew its line in the sand and overturned passed council motions, advising physicians to work with Wynne's government to help implement Bill 41 and the expansion of our province's wasteful 14 bureaucratic LHINs into nearly a hundred new sub-LHINs. Within just a week of Doug Ford's government being elected, the same OMA leadership is now disingenuously claiming to be against the expansion of the very same health-care bureaucracy it helped create and expand. And yet, no OMA leader has yet resigned from their lucrative LHIN appointment.

Our new government must realize that the self-serving OMA's very existence represents a colossal threat to patient care. Restoring trust and respect between the province and its doctors begins with a fully, independent forensic review of the OMA.

- Dr. Kulvinder Gill (@dockaurG) is a GTA physician, president and co-founder of COD and former chair of OMA District 5 (GTA, Dufferin, Muskoka, Simcoe.)

- Dr. Mark D'Souza (@DrMarkDS) is a Toronto physician, COD board director and former chair of OMA District 11 (Toronto).

More information can be found at www.CareNotCuts.ca, Twitter: @OnCall4ON, Storify: OnCall4ON, Instagram: OnCall4ON, and Facebook: We Are Your Ontario Doctors.


Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2018 07:35:41 AM EST

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