Re: The rise of the ‘Three Amigos’ of health care, April 14, 2015 Toronto Star (click this link to read initial report)

Canada’s health care philosophy is changing. We are moving from a mindset of merely treating sickness, to a health care system that encourages Canadians to prevent sickness from happening in the first place. Green Shield’s assessment of the health care landscape is too narrowly focused on outdated, pharmaceutically centred approaches to our health, when global thinking has evolved to focus on preventative, patient driven strategies. In fact, Ontario’s own government is prioritizing preventative, patient-focused approaches to health care, not just a reliance on expensive diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and specialists. This is reflected in the investment in programs like the Primary Care Low Back Pain pilot which explore evidence based, interprofessional teams where chiropractors work alongside other health care practitioners. Chiropractors not only provide manual therapy to immediately help relieve pain and restore mobility, but they can also educate and guide patients through exercises and strategies that help prevent their issues from reoccurring, saving the health care system money in the long run. Over 80 per cent of us experience low back pain at some point in our lives, which explains why musculoskeletal issues can be a major cost driver to our health care system. There are also mobility, pain and musculoskeletal components to chronic health issues such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you assume that benefit plans should focus on supplying expensive drugs to plan holders, then the shift from spending 70 per cent on drugs and 30 on benefits, to the current 60-40 mix will be viewed as a negative trend. This approach is especially frustrating when you consider that paramedical costs are only about 10 per cent of all spending, while the price of providing high cost drugs has increased by about 60 per cent in the past four years alone.

Dr. Bob Haig Chief Executive Officer Ontario Chiropractic Association