When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
- Henry Ford
The medical rehabilitation industry is going through challenging times. Only acknowledging such challenges will allow us to see the bigger picture and the brighter future ahead. This issue will explore the instability the industry is currently experiencing and will bring encouraging news of advances in research and rehabilitation that can move the industry forward toward a prosperous recovery.
In establishing its Anti-Fraud Task Force, the Ministry of Finance has responded to the unfortunate burden of abuse that has plagued the industry in Ontario for many years. In its article, the Ministry outlines the scope and mandate of this promising new task force, which will investigate auto insurance fraud over the next year in the hope of benefiting all industry players. However, while congratulating the Ministry on this significant initiative, The Health Professional is tempted to join the chorus of others who question why thorough investigations of fraud in the industry weren’t instigated before the MIG was established rather than almost a year later.
Discussions of SABS and the MIG feature in a number of other articles in this issue. The perspective of insurance companies is presented in an IBC article describing the objectives of the MIG when it was implemented last September, as well as early survey results that indicate how the MIG is being used.
Meanwhile, two articles are pointedly critical of the MIG and its application. A personal injury lawyer shares his insights about the concerns lawyers have been hearing from health professionals about the SABS a year after the regulatory changes were put in place. And a renowned psychologist makes a powerful case that when insurers deny MVA clients their right to psychological intervention under the MIG, their health problems are compounded, their recovery is delayed, and their quality of life is compromised.
Although some key issues contributing to rising costs – such as fraudulent behaviour – have been identified and we are starting to see some remedial action on the part of regulatory bodies, it will require time, patience and great effort on the part of all industry players for the system to regain its balance.
On a more positive note, some significant advances are being made in research and in techniques and approaches to rehabilitation all across the industry. Various examples can be found in the pages of this issue, from Dr. Richard Nahas’s global insights and the progress of clinical trials of gout medication to the impressive $175 million raised by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. A handful of articles describe advances on the hospital front, such as mergers between Toronto Rehab and University Health Network and between St. John’s Rehab and Sunnybrook hospitals, which will see these institutions combining their mandates and their specialties to achieve greater results. Baycrest has introduced an innovative new program to better serve the needs of a frail and elderly population, and at Mount Sinai Hospital some forward-looking health professionals have set up an effective new medical Tai Chi program for individuals with chronic pain. Even the provider practice environment is shifting with scope of practice changes, and we hear two physiotherapists and a kinesiologist discuss the challenges for practitioners and the health care community in adjusting to new guidelines, activities and regulatory bodies.
Medical rehabilitation in Ontario has always been a hive of activity, fostering communication, demonstrating innovation and promoting progress. Amid all the current difficulties and instability, this industry has a lot to be proud of. Challenges and healing still lie ahead, but we should take heart from being part of a community where there is always something positive brewing. We share a responsibility to do all we can to help those in need, and we should celebrate the many successes and advances that will lead the rehabilitation industry and all its stakeholders toward recovery and a promising future.