The future is unclear for about 9,000 patients at the Asclepios Medical Clinic in Orleans.
The clinic posted a notice on its website that it would be shutting down on May 31 due to financial problems from COVID-19.
“The closure is the result of the clinic simply not having the resources to sustain the increased operational costs and decreased revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a statement on the Asclepios Medical Clinic website.
The Asclepios Clinic is a fee for service clinic, meaning it receives funding and payment from the Ontario Government based on the amount of patient visits coming in.
Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth is a fee for service physician at the Common Ground Glebe clinic, and says patients are afraid of visiting doctor offices during the pandemic. She says the Asclepios Clinic use to average about 200 patient visits per day.
In their statement, the Asclepios Medical Clinic tells current patients, “the closure of the clinic does not terminate your ongoing relationship with your family physician.”
When asked by CTV News Ottawa outside the clinic on Tuesday, some patients said they had been notified they would be moving with their doctor, but others had not yet received any information despite the closure coming at the end of the week
Kaplan-Myrth says it can be difficult for doctors to bring patients to a new practice, “You have to de-roster. So you have to take all the patients that are registered with you and say, ‘you are no longer registered with me.’ And then you have to figure which of those patients are still going to be eligible for following you if you’re setting up in a new place.”
By Kaplan-Myrth’s estimates, there are about 240 fee for service doctors in Ottawa, caring for about 235,000 patients. She says what’s needed for fee for service clinics is an income stability model from the province that would allow clinics to cover costs when patients aren’t visiting steadily.
“What happened to the clinic in Orleans can happen to any of our clinics and the result will be you don’t have a doctor. When that sinks in, then the public might be able to put more pressure on the ministry of health.”