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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, supports Ontario's Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care and will ensure that patients continue to receive quality and accountable health care services. The 10 pieces of legislation included are:

Health Sector Payment Transparency Act, 2017

Ontario passed legislation that will 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 will 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 will be required to report information about transfers of value, which could include meals and hospitality, travel associated expenses, financial grants, and fees paid for consulting on speaking events.The public will be able to search this information in an online database.

Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990

Ontario amended the Health Protection and Promotion Act to 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 will 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 bring Ontario in line with several other jurisdictions in Canada.

Changes have also been made to ensure that no person, other than a regulated health professional, shall sell, offer for sale or provide eye tattooing or implant eye jewellery. In addition, legislative changes have been made that will permit the boards of health for the County of Oxford and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to merge into a single board of health. 

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 establishes new enforcement tools, including financial penalties, and new provincial offences to ensure long-term care home operators are addressing concerns promptly.

The legislation also establishes 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 changes will:

  • 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 changed 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.

Previously, paramedics were bound by law to transport patients to hospital facilities only. The changes will enable paramedics to provide appropriate, safe and effective care for patients who call 911 by providing timely on-scene care, and/or transporting the patient to a facility to meet the patient's needs. This will allow those patients to receive more appropriate care closer to home and in the community as well as improve the availability of ambulances to respond to higher acuity calls.

Oversight of Health Facilities and Devices Act, 2017

Ontario strengthened 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:

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

This legislation also allows the appropriate 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 and prohibits the creation of new private hospitals. This legislation allows the Private Hospitals Act to be repealed at a later date.

Medical Radiation and Imaging Technology Act, 2017

Ontario strengthened transparency of the oversight of diagnostic medical sonographers (those who use ultrasound) byreplacing the Medical Radiation Technology Act with new legislation to cover the entirety of the medical radiation and imaging technology profession.

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

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

  • Enabling the Patient Ombudsman to conduct investigations in private by excluding his or her 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 as well as specifying applicable conditions, restrictions or requirements on that collection, use, or disclosure
  • Providing HQO with greater operational flexibility by modernizing its authority to enter into office space lease arrangements that are reasonably necessary for HQO's functions.

Ontario Drug Benefit Act, 1990

An amendment removes the last outdated reference to only physicians in the Ontario Drug Benefit Act, to reflect that other health care professionals (such as nurse practitioners) can prescribe certain drug products covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, where deemed within their professional scope of practice.  This amendment further aligns the Ontario Drug Benefit Program with nurse practitioners' current scope of practice and will help increase patient access to medications they need.

A housekeeping amendment was also made to clarify the ministry's authority to disclose personal information for purposes related to the administration of the ODBA.

Ontario Mental Health Foundation Act, 1990

The province repealed the Ontario Mental Health Foundation Act (OMHF) to complete the dissolution of the foundation. The decision to dissolve the OMHF was 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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