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Access to Medical Supplies


Fair and Equitable Access to Medical Supplies

What’s going on?

If you use an intermittent catheter on a daily basis, as many people with spinal cord injury do, you could be spending between $4,000 and $15,000 a year on this vital medical supply. We are working with the Ontario government to remove this financial burden.

SCIO is part of the provincial Intermittent Catheter (IC) Working Group, a forum for interested clinicians, organizations, people with physical disabilities and policymakers to advocate for appropriate, evidence-based access to ICs for Ontarians.

The IC Working Group submitted an application to have Health Quality Ontario (HQO) conduct a health technology assessment (HTA) on ICs. This review evaluates the effectiveness, safety, patient preference, cost-effectiveness and budget impact of different types of ICs.

Time to take action

The preliminary results of the HTA are open for public feedback until October 15, after which, HQO’s report will go to the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee to develop a final recommendation to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on whether to reimburse ICs for Ontarians.

Your participation in this public feedback is vital in removing this systemic barrier to our community. Stay tuned for our full report on the preliminary results. Meantime:

Join the Movement!

Sign up and get advance communications on our efforts to improve quality and affordability of intermittent catheters in Ontario.


""Background on Intermittent Catheters (ICs)

Intermittent catheterization is a recommended bladder management method for people with urinary retention due to spinal cord injury or other conditions such as prostate enlargement. In Ontario, approx. 38,000 people use ICs and monthly supply costs can be up to $2,500 for specialized single-use ICs. Currently, there is no reimbursement provided by the provincial government for ICs, and other programs (e.g., automobile insurance, Easter Seals, etc.) do not often provide adequate coverage. Often, users try to reduce costs by re-using single use catheters, but this poses great health risks. (Of the 25 top economic countries in the world, Canada is one of only two that does not have policies restricting the re-use of a catheter.) SCIO and our partners are working toward a province-wide comprehensive medical supply coverage program for people with disabilities. 

Key Considerations for IC users when providing feedback to HQO Recommendations:

  • As an IC user, does the health technology assessment (HTA) report reflect your day-to-day needs?
  • Do you feel like your needs/concerns have been treated fairly?
  • Has your voice been adequately reflected in the report?
  • Based on the report’s conclusion, will you be able to afford your IC supplies on a monthly basis?

By joining this campaign to improve the quality and affordability of ICs, we can ensure the equitable supports are available. For more information, email advocacy@sciontario.org


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