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Ontario’s low-back pain strategy gets $2.3M funding boost

backpain.jpgThe Ontario government is expanding its low back pain strategy through a $2.3 million pilot project aimed at enabling primary care organizations to deliver timely, appropriate, high-quality low back pain services.


December 1, 2014
By Mari-Len De

As part of the expansion of Ontario’s Low Back Pain Strategy, the
two-year pilot project will build on efforts to provide better access to
appropriate, cost-effective, patient-centred care.

Under the
initiative, participating health care organizations will be able to
provide additional hours for a range of allied health providers such as
chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, kinesiologists
and registered massage therapists.

This recent announcement
further fuels the role of other health-care disciplines, like massage
therapy, in the development of new primary health-care models that focus
on providing “the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

“Improving
the quality and delivery of treatment for low back pain can make a
life-changing difference to thousands of people in the province,” said
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

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Among the organizations participating in this new pilot project include:

·      Essex Court Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Essex in partnership with City Centre Health Care in Windsor

·      A partnership between family health teams in Mount Forest, East Wellington and Minto-Mapleton

·      Couchiching Family Health Team in Orillia

·      TAIBU Community Health Centre in Scarborough

·      Shkagamik-Kwe Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Sudbury

·      Belleville Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic

·      Centre du santé communautaire de l’Estrie

Through
the project, these organizations will be able to provide to: provide
faster, more accurate assessment of low back pain problems; use a more
holistic approach to treating patients suffering from low back pain;
educate patients on low back pain self-management techniques; and refer
patient to an appropriate health-care provider as needed.

Since
April 2012, Ontario has invested more than $4 million to improve the
quality and availability of low back pain supports across the province.

Acute
low back pain is a common health problem affecting more than half of
all Ontarians over the course of their lifetime. For most people,
getting an imaging test such as x-ray, CT scan or MRI will not help
assess or treat low back pain, according to the ministry.

About 90 per cent of back pain is benign – that is, not caused by a serious underlying injury or disease.

Since
the launch of the Ontario Low Back Pain Strategy in 2012, there has
been an 18.5 per cent decrease in the number of patients being sent for
unnecessary x-rays, CT scans or MRIs – resulting in savings of
approximately $15 million, according to the ministry.

“The old
model of dealing with low back pain – at a physician’s office – was
largely based on referrals to medical specialists, and doing an awful
lot of advanced imaging – MRIs, CT scans – which the evidence all says
is not actually the best way to manage these patients. Almost 90 per
cent of people who are referred to a specialist or to a surgeon for low
back pain are not surgical candidates and they just end up back in their
family doctor, anyway,” said Bob Haig, CEO of the Ontario Chiropractic
Association.

 “The beauty of this model is it’s as far upstream
as you can get – in other words, it’s as close to the patient’s first
point of contact with the system as you can get.”


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