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Ontario to move some surgeries to specialized clinics, says Health Minister Deb Matthews

Ontario is expanding specialized not-for-profit clinics to move more hip and knee surgeries, colonoscopies and other procedures out of hospitals.

Health Minister Deb Matthews announced Wednesday the government would build on the successes of the Kensington Clinic, which now performs eye operations, such as cataracts and cornea transplants.

“In the coming weeks we will be launching a call for proposal for a provincewide expansion of specialized clinics for vision care,” Matthews told more than 350 people at a Canadian Club luncheon at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Over the course of 2013 and 2014, we are planning calls for proposals for other routine procedures, including colonoscopies, dialysis, hip and knee surgeries, and MRIs.”

Services would continue to be covered by OHIP.

The hope is that boutique clinics could provide the procedures more efficiently and at a lower cost than hospitals.

“It has been demonstrated that specialized clinics, which focus on a select few procedures, can serve more patients more quickly with excellent patient outcomes,” she said.

Matthews, who may not be health minister in a fortnight depending who wins the Jan. 25-27 Ontario Liberal leadership contest to choose Premier Dalton McGuinty’s successor, also pledged other improvements.

She said the government would expand its “price and evidence-based standards” now in place for hip and knee replacements, kidney dialysis, and cataract surgery.

“We’re going to add six additional treatments to that list this year,” she said.

These are: stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, systemic chemotherapy, coronary artery disease with surgical intervention, and colonoscopy.

thestar.com – News