It’s been a controversial and downright confusing couple of months for many physiotherapists across Ontario.
In April, Health Minister Deb Matthews announced that physiotherapy funding would increase to $156 million from $146 million annually, effective Aug. 1. This, she said, would provide 200,000 more Ontario seniors with access to physiotherapy services.
Yet Toula Reppas, president of the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association of Ontario’s board of directors, says the health minister told her organization in a meeting that the 2012-2013 budget for physiotherapy was actually $200 million. That would mean the “increase” really represented a $54 million cut to funding in August.
According to Reppas, there are no government documents available to the public that specify last year’s funding amount.
“Nothing really adds up,” said Peterborough physiotherapist Lori Neill, who works with Thomas, Neill and Associates, a community-based occupational therapy service provider. “How are more seniors going to get more services from less money? Wherein lies the truth: are they curtailing spending or not?”