Leal Calls for Update of Ontario Assistive Devices Program

Two Peterborough recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program benefits don’t qualify for coverage for specialized othopedic shoes, leg braces

By BRENDAN WEDLEY/Examiner Staff Writer
Posted February 11, 2011

A provincial program that helps provide personalized assistive devices — such as prosthesis, wheelchairs, hearing aids and respiratory equipment — for people who have long-term physical disabilities probably needs to be updated, Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal says.

Leal made the comment after reading stories in The Examiner over the past few weeks about a woman who needs custom-made orthopedic shoes to walk without pain because of her disfigured feet and a man who needs leg braces to walk because a degenerative disease causes the bone between his knee and ankle to pop out of the knee joint.

Both Susan Cooper and Michael Nightingale live on Ontario Disability Support Program benefits.

“This is a perfect opportunity for individuals making presentations to that review committee to look at ways to update the assisted devices program…. The
list of what is covered probably needs to be updated.”

Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal

Ontario Health Care and the Ontario Assistive Devices Program don’t cover the orthopedic shoes or leg braces. Cooper and Nightingale are each able to get as much as $300 towards the devices they require through a municipally funded social services program.

A social services review committee is touring the province, which will give people an opportunity to provide feedback, Leal said.

“This is a perfect opportunity for individuals making presentations to that review committee to look at ways to update the assisted devices program…. The
list of what is covered probably needs to be updated,” he said. “There is quite a list of things that are not covered … one of them is what they refer
to as generation 2-need braces.

“For Michael, it certainly looks like he has a fairly sophisticated type of knee brace.”

Devices covered by the program are intended to enable people with physical disabilities to increase their independence through access to assistive devices responsive to their individual needs, the government states on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website.

The program covers more than 8,000 separate pieces of equipment or supplies.

bwedley@peterboroughexaminer.com

Article ID# 2974929

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