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Excellent Care for All

Changes To Schedule of Benefits - Understanding changes to Pre-Operative Testing

Routine testing of patients before they have elective surgery is used to reduce the risk of complications and detect previously undiagnosed conditions. This testing is also used for patients with known conditions whose surgery may need to be put off or altered based on the test results.

Recent studies have shown that routine electrocardiograms (ECGs) and chest x-rays before cataract surgery do not improve how well the surgery turns out for most patients. In some cases, these tests may even be harmful for patients, especially those who are having low-risk surgeries like cataract surgery and who have no symptoms requiring such a test.

What is changing?

Effective July 1st, 2010, ECGs and chest x-rays to prepare a patient for cataract surgery are only eligible for payment with prior approval from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

What is not changing?

Medically necessary ECGs and chest x-rays ordered prior to other surgeries do not require prior approval.

Why the change?

Medical experts recommended this change to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care based on the best available medical evidence. The ministry made this change after consulting with the Ontario Medical Association and other key partners.

What if a physician recommends one or both of these tests prior to cataract surgery?

If your physician or surgeon feels that you require one or both of these tests prior to cataract surgery to prepare specifically for the surgery, the physician can apply to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for approval prior to the test. If approved, the test is covered by OHIP.

As with all medical tests that may not be covered by OHIP, we encourage Ontarians to consult their physician or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care before proceeding with the test.

Where can I get more information on these changes?

To obtain more information on these changes, you are encouraged to call ServiceOntario at 1-866-532-3161.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161
In Toronto, 416-314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm