ONTARIO – Children across Ontario are sick. Province-wide, cases of RSV, COVID-19, and influenza are overwhelming emergency rooms and wait times continue to spiral out of control. Some families are waiting up to 12 hours to see a doctor at SickKids and CHEO. Medical staff have described the scene as “chaotic.”
That’s why virtual emergency care may be needed now more than ever, but cuts by the Ford government have limited these resources.
KixCare’s virtual care for children is ending its free emergency care services next month. The program will come to an end on December 1st due to OHIP cuts.
“KixCare was created by Pediatricians and Family Doctors to help parents raise healthy and happy children. We achieve this by providing families with specialized pediatric virtual care access, from the comfort of their homes, so they can avoid emergency rooms and walk-in clinic visits whenever possible. Except we’re about to hit a brick wall,” reads a press release from KixCare.
“Slashing OHIP-covered virtual pediatric care means more worried parents will turn to hospitals for care because they don’t know what else to do – making the crisis worse,” the release continues.
Nearly 20,000 children have relied on this form of virtual pediatric care since its was first launched in 2021. Due to funding cuts, to continue accessing these services, parents will have to pay for a KixCare subscription to receive virtual care.
The program has revealed two new subscription-based services, Kix360° and Kix Urgent Care.
According to a release, those who subscribe and become Kix360° members will have access to pediatric experts, including 24/7 access to Pediatric Registered Nurses, through video and messaging. It also includes access to specialized Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Pediatrician consults as needed, plus on-demand video resources.
Additionally, they will be launching Kix Urgent Care to respond to the rising need for urgent care. This service will be staffed daily by Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
KixCare: Ontarians Upset The Free Virtual Care Program is Ending
Online, many people voiced their frustration with the provincial government’s cuts to this program.
“Of all the things they can cut, this is their choice?” asked one viewer.
“Literally move the overinflated police budget into healthcare and education,” said another
“Seems to be a lot of funding cuts for healthcare and education but tons of money for new highways,” someone else wrote.
While some parents have shared how the service has helped their children.
“KixCare basically saved my son last winter. He’s five and has been diagnosed with asthma since birth and it gets so bad in the winter. ER [visits] often every winter except for last year when I used this and they suggested to get an allergy test. That’s what was wrong with him this whole time. If not for them I’d be having a rough winter right now but he’s on allergy medicine and it helps 10,000% it’s a shame they have to shut down,” said one parent.
“KixCare was crucial to me as a first time mom with a newborn with a milk protein allergy… It saddens me that moms without the money to pay for a subscription cannot access the service. It genuinely changed my life in the early days of having a newborn. I’m sad,” commented another.
”I have used the service many times for my toddler who’s been nonstop sick since he started daycare in March. They’ve been amazing thorough and spot on. Doing after our and we can appointments when I couldn’t get in somewhere. The fact that they are being cut is absolutely absurd especially given the state of healthcare and our kids right now,” said a third.
Let us know in the comments, have you ever used KixCare? And do you think this service should be provincially funded?