It is our understanding that Scarborough General Hospital is thinking of restricting access to OHIP funded panniculectomy surgery to those who live in the immediate catchment area of the Central East LHIN. This would mean that many patients who travel to Scarborough General for this all important surgery would, in the future, find this opportunity denied.
Why is this important? For a few very important reasons. OHIP funded panniculectomy is not a cosmetic procedure. This is a vital health issue that is a common problem with massive weight loss patients. These patients often suffer from severe rashes and infections, loss of mobility, and increase in back, hip and joint pain due to the excess of skin that results from losing 100+ lbs. This surgery can mean the difference between a continued life of restriction, and a life of freedom from pain and discomfort. Dr. Nandagopal specifically recognizes this medical value and supports patients in receiving OHIP funding.
Because of this, Dr. Nandogopal works very hard to apply for and secure OHIP funding for this vital procedure. Most Ontario plastic surgeons work on a strictly pay-for-fee model, and are unable or unwilling to apply, fight for and perform this surgery. Many surgeons tell patients that a panniculetomy is not a covered procedure, or that OHIP covers a minimal fee and refuse to perform the surgery without extreme "top-up" fees, sometimes as high as $10 000. Many patients who suffer from this debilitating condition cannot afford to "upgrade" to a full tummy tuck. Dr. Nandagopal is one of the few surgeons who will perform this surgery as covered by OHIP. By restricting this procedure by postal code, you will, in essence, be denying patients who live in other areas of Ontario this very beneficial procedure.
Lastly, it is well known that the skin of a massive weight loss patients is difficult to operate on successfully. Due to the excess stretching and skin damage, it is important that the surgeon have experience in post-weight loss patients to ensure a good result. Dr. Nandagopal has extensive experience in this area. Many patients are willing to travel in order to take advantage of this experience. They should not be forced to be experimented on by inexperienced doctors due to their postal code.
We hope you will consider the importance of these arguments when making your decisions. We are asking you to continue to allow Dr. Nandagopal to support us as patients, and continue to allow Dr. Nandagopal to change our lives for the better.