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News - All - 27 Feb 2019
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Miscellaneous: 27 Feb 2019
Bring your wallet when going to hospital for a cast
WATERLOO REGION — This winter has been busy for broken bones, and people unlucky enough to need a cast will also have to pay for it.
|rand River Hospital started charging for fibreglass casts on Jan. 1, bringing it in line with other fracture clinics in the province and Cambridge Memorial Hospital. - Rene Johnston , Toronto Star file photo |
Grand River Hospital started charging for fibreglass casts on Jan. 1, bringing the Kitchener hospital in line with other fracture clinics in the province and Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
"We're just trying to keep it standard across the region and province," said Robinne Hauck, program director of surgical services at Grand River Hospital.
Fibreglass casts are not covered by OHIP, but until recently Grand River had been absorbing the cost.
Plaster casts are covered by OHIP, but those are not commonly used anymore.
"They're much heavier than a regular fibreglass cast," Hauck said. "That's the only kind we really use now."
The cost for a fibreglass cast depends on the size. Casting the small arm of a child would be about $25 compared to $85 for an adult leg. Hauck added that not every fracture patient needs a cast because other interventions may be suitable.
Other things not covered by the province's health plan include splints and air casts.
Private health insurance, for those who have it, may later pick up the bill or a portion of it.
Hauck said Grand River wouldn't pursue the cost for a cast if a person was unable to pay.
Cambridge Memorial said patients are not charged for a fibreglass cast if it's needed for medical reasons, such as a child under five because a plaster one would be too heavy for a developing limb. The hospital spokesperson said plaster casts are still used there.
Casts have been in high demand lately with the blast of intense winter weather in February. Grand River is tending to far more fractures this year than last.
"Definitely we've seen a huge increase this winter," Hauck said.
That makes for busy emergency departments and operating rooms. A dozen people were waiting for surgery to fix fractures, mostly ankles, on Tuesday at Grand River.
Cambridge Memorial reported seeing a small bump in fractures recently. While not considered a spike, the Cambridge hospital's fracture clinic and emergency department have been busy.
"We need the weather to change," Hauck said. "It's just been crazy this year."
Johanna Weidner Waterloo Region Record/Toronto Star/AA
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