The OMA Phase 2 Agreement: What it Means for Ontario’s Doctors and Patients
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and the Ontario government recently came to an agreement on Phase 2 of their Physician Services Agreement (PSA). This PSA outlines the terms and conditions under which Ontario’s doctors provide medical services to patients covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
The OMA represents approximately 43,000 physicians, residents, and medical students in Ontario. Phase 1 of the PSA was signed in 2017 after a prolonged dispute between the OMA and the government, during which the OMA filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s ability to unilaterally cut physicians’ fees. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, and negotiations between the OMA and the government resumed.
Phase 2 of the PSA is significant for a number of reasons. First, it establishes a three-year agreement with doctors, providing greater stability and predictability for both doctors and patients. This is particularly important given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed unprecedented strain on Ontario’s healthcare system.
Second, the PSA includes a commitment from the government to invest in physician compensation, which has been a major sticking point in previous negotiations. Specifically, the government has committed to a 5.1% increase in physician payments over the course of the agreement. This includes a 2.5% increase in the first year, followed by 1% in each of the second and third years.
Third, the PSA includes several important provisions related to physician workload and patient care. For example, it establishes a working group to address issues related to physician burnout and workload, and it includes measures to improve access to care for patients, particularly in rural and remote areas of the province.
Overall, the OMA Phase 2 Agreement represents a positive step forward for Ontario’s healthcare system. By providing greater stability and predictability for doctors and patients, investing in physician compensation, and addressing important issues related to physician workload and patient care, this agreement sets the stage for a more stable and sustainable healthcare system in Ontario.