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Private Health-care Clinics Mushroom in Ontario

Proliferation of private health-care clinics in Ontario has caught the attention of the ministry. Zoltan Nagy, intervening president of the Canadian Independent Medical// Clinics Association, confesses to being aware of five to 10 private clinics which have set up shop in the recent months, but refuses to disclose the names or exact number of clinics operating.

Many clinics have come up because the legislation binds only doctors to register with the ministry. Setting up a clinic does not demand any further registrations and is just like starting any other business enterprise. The ministry does not maintain a list of these clinics, and comes into the picture only to look into complaints.

Ontario government witnessed widespread complaints last year, against the Cope man Healthcare Centre which opened in Toronto and began to levy an annual membership fee. The ministry invoked the 2004 Future of Medicare Act and disallowed the opening of the health care center.

"My understanding is that the Ontario Health Ministry is fine with (private clinics) as long as it doesn't end up on the cover of the Toronto Star," Nagy said.

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