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Seniors, Physiotherapy Workers Across Ontario Celebrate Court's Decision to Suspend Cuts to OHIP-Funded Physiotherapy

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jul 26, 2013) - The Designated Physiotherapy Clinics Association (DPCA) said thousands of Ontario seniors will benefit from a ruling today by the Ontario Divisional Court that will suspend the Ontario government's plan to delist and significantly cut funding for OHIP physiotherapy on August 1.

"This is a victory for the thousands of Ontario seniors who depend on OHIP-funded physiotherapy for their mobility, their independence and their well-being," said Executive Director Tony Melles of the DPCA, which provides OHIP-funded physiotherapy. "During the proceedings, it became clear from the government's own testimony that the government deliberately neglected to meet its responsibility - and its own process -- in failing to provide us with the required minimum 45 days notice that it was drastically cutting funding."

In his ruling, Justice Thomas Lederer referred the matter to a three-judge panel, which on August 21 will consider an application for a judicial review from DPCA on stopping the cuts altogether.

The province's 91 Designated Physiotherapy Clinics can continue to provide OHIP physiotherapy to their patients.

"This has been a stressful, difficult situation for thousands of seniors, patients, their families and dedicated physiotherapy workers," said Melles. "There was absolutely no consultation prior to the government's decision, although court documents show that plans had been underway for the past 12 months to delist physiotherapy from the OHIP schedule of benefits. Health Minister Deb Matthews met with us on March 28 of this year, and gave no indication that significant funding and regulatory changes were coming. On April 18, she made her announcement."

Melles pointed out that in its testimony, the government acknowledged that it spent $200-million on physiotherapy in the 12 months ended March 31, 2013, and was budgeting only $156-million for the current year.

The Minister continues to portray the new funding level as an "increase."

The Justice's decision is being celebrated by physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants across the province.

More than 3,000 Ontario physiotherapy workers - including 1,000 physiotherapists - were set to lose their jobs next week, as a result of the government's cuts.

More than 35,000 Ontario seniors living in retirement homes, supportive housing, and their own homes, had already been notified that their physiotherapists would not be able to treat them after August 1. Now, they'll receive care at least until the 21st.

About the Designated Physiotherapy Clinics (DPCs)

The province's OHIP-funded Designated Physiotherapy Clinics (DPCs) have provided high-quality, low-cost care to more than 150,000 Ontario seniors, children, social assistance recipients and disabled persons each year in community clinics, Long-Term Care homes and retirement residences for almost 50 years. DPC physiotherapists provide high-quality, safe and effective treatment on a fee-for-service basis in Ontario for only $12.20 per treatment.