Ontario government shuts down debate on short-sighted changes proposed in Bill 87

TORONTO, April 4, 2017 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors are concerned that the provincial government is limiting necessary discussion on Bill 87, an omnibus heath-care bill, which makes amendments to 10 different pieces of legislation. As with Bill 41, the government is closing Second Reading debate for Bill 87 early, and after only allowing ten hours to consider significant changes that may have unintended consequences.

"While doctors support the intent of Bill 87 to address the issue of sexual abuse of patients, it also contains many distressing elements that could negatively affect the provision of patient care, as well as Band-Aid solutions that unnecessarily increase red-tape," said Dr. Rachel Forman, Ontario Medical Association spokesperson. "Instead of working with doctors to develop solutions that protect patients and address system challenges, the government continues to operate in a silo."

The results of government acting without the input of stakeholders are slowly being revealed in the implementation of Bill 41 – growing bureaucracy without any additional resources for patient care.

Doctors foresee the government's proposed changes in Bill 87 will weaken the health-care system for patients. Bill 87 fundamentally erodes fairness and natural justice for physicians at the CPSO level, and as a result, may put front-line providers in a position where they are afraid to perform certain aspects of the physical exam because they will not be afforded due process.

"We are also alarmed that the government wants to gain access to the personal health information of individual doctors," said Dr. Forman. "The government has provided no clear purpose for this power or limits on when or how much information they can access. Physicians and other health-care providers are also patients and are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy." 

Bill 87 introduces administrative changes with unintended consequences, such as more paper-work for doctors for immunization reporting and surveillance, instead of prioritizing a fully operable immunization registry. As well, the introduction of new compliance requirements around 'Specimen Collection Centres' creates unnecessary bureaucracy.  These changes will make it harder for doctors to offer specimen collection services (such as blood, urine, saliva) to patients. The introduction of new compliance requirements might make providing the service unsustainable in community clinics.

"Despite the government's disregard for physician expertise regarding the health-care system and patient care, we will continue to advocate for Bill 87 to be stopped so that changes can be made," said Dr. Forman. "Our health-care system won't function properly until doctors can be at the table with government to make the changes necessary to safeguard patients and improve care."

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, Manager Media Relations, Office: 416-340-2970 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2970, Mobile: 416-804-4600, Email: nadia.daniell-colarossi@oma.org; Danielle Milley, Senior Advisor Media Relations, Office: 416-599-2580 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 3008, Mobile: 647-300-0081, Email: danielle.milley@oma.org

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