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Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act, 2017

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Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act, 2017

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

The Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act, 2017, which Ontario intends to introduce later today, would support Ontario's Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care and, if passed, would ensure that patients continue to receive quality and accountable health care services. The 10 pieces of legislation included in the bill are:

Health Sector Payment Transparency Act, 2017

Ontario is introducing new legislation that would, if passed, make it mandatory for the medical industry, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, to disclose payments made to health care professionals and organizations, as well as other recipients. This legislation would strengthen transparency by providing information about financial relationships within the health care system and help patients make better informed decisions about their own health care.

The medical industry would be required to report all information about all other transfers of value, including meals and hospitality, travel associated expenses, and financial grants. The public would be able to search this information in an online database.

Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990

Ontario is amending the Health Protection and Promotion Act to, if passed, permit the regulation of recreational water facilities like splash pads and wading pools to protect the health and safety of infants and young children. These changes would also permit the regulation of personal service settings like barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlours and their aesthetic practices to better prevent infection in these settings.

These changes would bring Ontario in line with several other jurisdictions in Canada.

Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007

While the vast majority of long-term care homes are in compliance with provincial rules and regulations, the legislation proposes new enforcement tools, including financial penalties, and new provincial offences to ensure long-term care home operators are addressing concerns promptly.

The legislation also proposes a consent-based framework to protect residents who need to be secured in a long-term care home for safety reasons.

Retirement Homes Act, 2010

Ontario has a robust oversight system enforced by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) and recently consulted on ways to continue to improve the system in place.

The proposed changes would:

  • Strengthen the oversight powers of the RHRA
  • Increase transparency, accountability and governance through changes that include permitting the Auditor General to conduct value-for-money audits of the RHRA and by giving the minister authority to require reviews of the RHRA

Ambulance Act, 1990

Ontario is proposing to change the Ambulance Act to provide paramedics with increased flexibility to deliver alternative care options on-scene to patients, avoiding unnecessary visits to the emergency department. 

Currently, paramedics are bound by law to transport patients to hospital facilities only. The proposed changes, if passed, would help reduce overcrowding in emergency departments by allowing paramedics to redirect low acuity patients who call 911 to non-hospital facilities (e.g. mental health facility or other home and community care resource).

Oversight of Health Facilities and Devices Act, 2017

Ontario is proposing to strengthen the safety and oversight of services delivered in community health facilities and with medical radiation devices like X-ray machines, CT scanners, ultrasound machines and MRIs.

The province's legislation would, if passed:

  • Modernize and expand the regulation of medical radiation devices in all facilities to ensure safety and quality when using these devices
  • Strengthen accountability in the system for providing high-quality care
  • Ensure patients and their caregivers have access to critical information about the quality of care provided through public reporting.  

This proposal would also allow private hospitals or other health facilities to be designated as community health facilities at a later date, so there is consistent quality oversight through detailed reporting and an enhanced inspection regime. This legislation would also allow the Private Hospitals Act to be repealed at a later date.

Medical Radiation and Imaging Technology Act, 2017

Ontario is proposing changes to strengthen transparency of the oversight of diagnostic medical sonographers (those who use ultrasound) by replacing the Medical Radiation Technology Act with new legislation to cover the entirety of the medical radiation and imaging technology profession.

Key changes proposed under the new Medical Radiation and Imaging Technology Act include:

  • Updating the name of the profession and of the health regulatory college overseeing the profession to accurately reflect the entirety of its membership
  • Changing the scope of practice statement to include the "application of soundwaves" to capture diagnostic sonographers
  • Appropriately identifying all radiation and imaging professionals that are members of the college.

Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

The proposed amendments to the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 include:

  • Enabling the Patient Ombudsman to conduct investigations in private by excluding their investigation records from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • Allowing government to make regulations specifying purposes for which Health Quality Ontario (HQO) may collect, use, and disclose personal health information which may be included, in its yearly reports.

Ontario Drug Benefit Act, 1990

This proposed new amendment would remove the last outdated reference to physicians in the Ontario Drug Benefit Act to reflect that other health care professionals (such as nurse practitioners) can prescribe drug products in Ontario.

The proposed change in scope for nurse practitioners was first addressed under the Protecting Patients Act, 2017, and would increase patients' access to the medications they need.

Ontario Mental Health Foundation Act, 1990

The province is proposing to repeal the Ontario Mental Health Foundation Act (OMHF) to complete the dissolution of the foundation. The decision to dissolve the OMHF has been made based on the results of a review that found the bulk of OMHF's original mandate (diagnosis and treatment) is currently delivered by community-based organizations. Its research mandate will be managed through Ontario's existing Health System Research Fund.

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