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CUPE plans rallies to protest expansion of private clinics

Council of hospital unions rips Ford government plans to further privatize delivery of MRIs and CT scans
hospital equipment turl north bay 2015 12 2
File photo. Jeff Turl/BayToday

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) blasted the government’s plan to further privatize the delivery of MRIs and CT scans through for-profit clinics, and announced a series of rallies at Ontario PC MPP offices by union members and community allies across the province this summer. Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli's office will be picketed on Monday, July 15

"The Ontario PCs are funnelling more money to private clinics that are openly violating the Canada Health Act,” said Michael Hurley, president of OCHU/CUPE. “It’s bad enough that the Ford government is underfunding public health care, but now we have patients being price gouged for medically necessary services, and for-profit clinics openly advertising private pay services with no consequences.”

Ontario Health Coalition report found private, for-profit clinics engaging in unlawful billing practices, including upselling patients. The Health Coalition found that some patients had been charged up to $8,000 for procedures that should have been covered by OHIP.

The union is also concerned about private clinics burdening the public purse, with a CBC investigation discovering that privately delivered surgeries are about two to three times more costly than the same procedures performed in public hospitals.

Last year, OCHU/CUPE and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report on privatization of hospital services in Ontario, which included data showing worse outcomes in private hospitals and clinics. They have higher death rates than public hospitals, are far more expensive, and they poach staff away from the public system,” said Hurley.