Yesterday, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, the Hon. Sylvia Jones, introduced Your Health Act, 2023 in the Ontario Legislature. This legislation outlines next steps of the government’s plans to reduce wait times for surgeries, procedures, and diagnostic imaging, and enabling the new “As of Right” rules to recognize the credentials of registered health care workers from other provinces and territories.
If passed, Your Health Act, 2023 will implement the following:
Reducing Wait Times – Integration with Hospitals & Other Health Care Settings
- Require new applicants to outline how their community surgical and diagnostic centre will promote connected and convenient care, including its capacity to improve patient wait times and improve patient experiences, as well as its plans to integrate with the health system.
- Require centres to provide a description of current linkages with health system partners and how the centre will maintain and improve those linkages to promote optimal patient care pathways.
- Centres will have to coordinate with Ontario Health to ensure they are included in regional health system planning, including connection and reporting into the province’s wait times information system and participation in regional central intakes.
- Require centres to coordinate with local public hospitals to accept patients that are being referred, ensuring people get needed surgery as quickly as possible.
Quality and Oversight of Health Care
- Enable the province to designate one or more expert organizations as inspecting bodies of the centres to work with Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health to establish, maintain, and publish quality and safety standards and establish schedules for regular inspections of the centres.
- Require centres applying for a licence to provide details of its quality assurance and continuous quality improvement programming, including policies for infection prevention and control.
- Mandate every community surgical and diagnostic centre to have a process for receiving and responding to patient complaints to ensure patient quality of care.
- Include community surgical and diagnostic centres under the oversight of Ontario’s patient ombudsman.
Protecting the Health Care Workforce
- Mandate components of a proposed centre’s application to protect the stability of doctors, nurses and other health-care workers at public hospitals and other health care settings. This includes:
- Require that physicians employed by community surgical and diagnostic centres have privileges to do the same work in a hospital. This will ensure that anyone seeking emergency care at a hospital will be able to receive the urgent treatment they need.
- Enable Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health to require centres to report on their compliance with these health care workforce protections.
OHIP Coverage & Administration
- Remain consistent with the Canada Health Act and reinforce that people always receive insured services using their OHIP card.
- No centre will be permitted to refuse service to someone because they choose not to purchase upgrades, such as an upgraded cataract lens, and people cannot pay an additional fee to receive services faster than anyone else.
- Require centres to transparently provide this information up front and ensure there is a mechanism to address people’s concerns.
“As of Right” Rules & Stronger Data Protections
- Enable “As of Right” rules to allow health care workers registered in other provinces and territories to immediately start working in Ontario without having to first register with one of Ontario’s health regulatory colleges.
- Strengthen protections for personal health information and data as the province puts in place new models to better inform policy and program planning to improve services.
If passed, this legislation will implement the pillars that were announced as part of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care (released on February 2nd) to ensure patients receive faster care closer to home, and at every stage of their life.
Barring any unforeseen events or amendments, this legislation is positioned to pass on or before the legislature rises in June 2023.
Happy to Help.
Please feel free to reach out to our team to learn more about this announcement and what it may mean for you.
Sadaf Abbasi, Director, Ontario Government Relations