An Ottawa physician is calling on the provincial government to provide income stability for doctors before there is a "collapse" in local healthcare.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth says fewer people are going to their local doctor, so physicians are being left to watch their incomes fall.
"Doctors are writing to me and saying they are closing down their clinics," she explains. "We need money to be able to keep our offices going, to pay for our staff, to pay for our spaces. All of our supplies we pay for ourselves, those are not given to us by the government."
Dr. Kaplan-Myrth is a family doctor in The Glebe, and says doctors only get paid when they can bill the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) for seeing patients, and while doctors are able to see patients by video and phone, and get paid by OHIP for those assessments, it's not enough.
"A clinic closed last week, or announced that it's going to be closing. That affects 10,000 patients," says the doctor. "Our group takes care of 35,000 patients. If we each can't keep our offices running, there is nobody to take over our practices."
The Government of Ontario is providing pandemic loans to doctors, but Dr. Kaplan-Myrth is worried about that simply causing more problems down the road.
"We don't have sustainable income stability to allow us to keep carrying our costs, let alone pay back these loans."
Dr. Kaplan-Myrth wants doctors to have a more steady, dependable flow of income from the province, both now and after the pandemic ends.