Toronto (June 7): Today, the Ontario Association of Cardiologists (OAC) issued an open letter to Ms. Bonnie Lysyk, Auditor General of Ontario, calling on her to investigate the provincial government’s spending in cardiac care and report on what the association considers to be a serious misuse of public resources.
According to the OAC, the Ontario government’s unilateral actions of 2012 and 2015 have resulted in a lower quality of care at higher cost and increased utilization. These actions threaten the long-term viability of the health care system.
“These ill-conceived government decisions are endangering lives and the sustainability of cardiac care in Ontario,” said Dr. James Swan, President, Ontario Association of Cardiologists. “The people of Ontario need to be concerned.”
The OAC is urging the Auditor General to focus on two specific areas involving cardiac tests, namely:
- Inappropriate over-billing for ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring tests (e.g. Holter monitors; external loop recorders), which we believe is costing the health care system millions of dollars. OAC urged the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to put a stop to this practice in July 2015 but nothing has been done; and,
- The dramatic rise in commercial cardiac ultrasound services that was fuelled by the unilateral government regulatory change in October 2015 eliminating the requirement for a qualified physician to be present during these services.
“Ontario cardiologists are concerned by these activities, which are resulting in higher costs and lower quality care,” added Dr. Swan. “If not immediately addressed, these activities will wastefully increase the cost of cardiac care while eroding its quality.”
For more information or to speak with Dr. James Swan, please contact: