Ontario Physiotherapy Association comments on McGuinty Government's auto insurance proposal
TORONTO - The Ontario Physiotherapy Association (OPA), which represents over 4, 800 practising physiotherapists and physiotherapy students in Ontario, has been deeply engaged in consultations with the Ontario government on its auto insurance strategy over the past year and sees reasons for optimism in this morning's announcement, but also some concerns.
"Many of the proposed reforms announced this morning represent an improvement on the recommendations made last April by the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario," explained Mark Beadle, OPA President. "A number of the concerns we had and recommendations we made are reflected in the package of 41 proposed reforms released this morning. We're pleased, for example, that the government obviously heard our objections to imposing a physician gatekeeper who would be responsible for initiating all assessments and treatments that would have negatively affected timely access to care for Ontarians without family physicians. But we obviously still have a lot of work to do."
Beadle went on to explain that the OPA's major concern is that consumers understandably want to limit their premiums and most don't believe they will ever be involved in an accident that requires significant rehabilitation. "The $50,000 in medical and rehabilitation benefits in the 'basic coverage' proposal is an improvement from the $25,000 initially proposed. Nevertheless, it will be inadequate for many who find themselves with serious injuries needing treatment. They will end up looking for treatment in the publicly-funded system that is already stretched to the maximum, pay out of their own pockets, or go without the treatment that they need to get better."
"The OPA will bring several principles or objectives to the consultations the government has promised on the proposals," said Dorianne Sauvé, the OPA CEO. "First, will be the need for the government and the insurance industry to really educate consumers about their options, including the real risks involved in choosing one option over another. Second, will be the implications for increasing demand on publicly-funded rehabilitation including home care that is already stretched to capacity and which simply isn't an option for many Ontarians because of government-imposed limitations on coverage and inaccessibility due to distance and other factors. Third will be the need to reduce complexity and regulatory burden for everyone. An overarching objective will be to ensure that the new framework enhances, rather than restricts, access to timely and effective rehabilitation in the auto insurance sector."
The OPA looks forward to working with government and other stakeholders during the promised consultations to help achieve a balanced, sustainable auto insurance system for Ontarians.