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Access to Medical Supplies

"" Fair and Equitable Access to Medical Supplies

The high cost of catheters from Spinal Cord Injury Ontario on Vimeo.

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.

On February 20, HQO released its much anticipated report with recommendations on funding for Intermittent Catheters. To our dismay the recommendations only propose public funding for “uncoated catheters”. For more details, please view report.

While we are not pleased with the results, we welcome HQO’s call to provide public funding for everyone who requires catheters and will continue to make our case for requesting fully funded catheters based on need, choice and medical opinion as we prepare for Ontario’s Budget released on April 11.

SCIO Pre-Budget Submission

Leveraging the work of Ontario SCI Alliance Members, SCIO, in partnership with ONF, submitted two written submissions in preparation for the 2019 Ontario budget consultations – with a focus on ending hallway medicine, and creating a province wide coverage program for medical supplies.

  • View Submission #1: Improving Hallway Medicine Through Better Home and Community Care Supports in Ontario
  • View Submission #2: Ending Hallway Medicine through Neurotrauma Pathways

Time to take action

SCIO hosted a Queen’s Park Day in partnership with March of Dimes Canada on “Access to Medical Supplies” on Monday, March 18, at Queen’s Park. Read about it here.

Also please join Spinal Cord Injury Ontario on social media (Facebook, Twitter) as we launch our official #peeforfree public campaign!

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, unless you are a part of the Ontario Disability Support Program, there is no reimbursement provided by the provincial government for ICs, and other programs (e.g., automobile insurance, Easter Seals, etc.) may not 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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