Statement from the Ontario Hospital Association re: Globe and Mail Story on
Hospital Prototype Bylaws

TORONTO, May 12 /CNW/ - The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) feels it is important to address several topics included in this morning's Globe and Mail article regarding the 2010 Hospital Prototype Bylaws:

    
    -  The OHA believes that physicians play a central role in the delivery
       of care within hospitals and contrary to what is suggested in the news
       article, the OHA believes that physician leadership is essential to
       effective decision-making in hospitals. This does not mean, however,
       that hospital bylaws should remain frozen in the past. The health care
       system is rapidly changing and hospital bylaws need to be modernized
       in order to improve accountability, and keep pace with progressive new
       ideas in health system governance and contemporary legislative and
       public policy imperatives;

    -  A number of recent substantive criticisms regarding the OHA Hospital
       Prototype are about topics previously included in the 2003 Joint
       OMA/OHA version of the bylaws;

    -  The OHA believes that it is reasonable for hospital boards to request
       that in return for the ability to access hospital resources,
       physicians should be asked to agree to a reasonable and balanced set
       of accountabilities. The OHA believes that paying proper consideration
       to the reputation of the hospital, being asked to ensure appropriate
       and efficient use of hospital resources and participate in committee
       work are reasonable expectations to ask of physicians and in fact,
       these are already in place in many hospitals across Ontario today.

    -  The article in the Globe and Mail claims that the by-laws would
       "muzzle" physicians and cites provisions in the by-laws that stipulate
       that professionals at a hospital cannot engage in any conduct that
       would adversely affect that hospital's "reputation or standing in the
       community."

    -  Unfortunately, the article did not include the full text of that
       provision from the by-laws, which states that no board-appointed
       professional should "undertake any conduct that would be disruptive to
       the Department or Division or adversely affect Hospital operations or
       the Hospital's reputation or standing in the community." It is
       critical to note that the provision applies not just to physicians but
       to all board-appointed professional staff at the hospital.

    -  Hospitals have codes of conduct that are meant to inform the conduct
       of all staff within a hospital in terms how they relate to patients
       and to each other. These codes typically establish reasonable
       expectations regarding attitude, disruptive behaviour, the use of
       abusive language, and workplace violence. In the opinion of the OHA,
       it is reasonable to expect that all staff working in a hospital -
       including managers, physicians, nurses, and others - would follow
       these codes.

    -  To be clear, consideration of a physician's skills, attitude and
       judgment has long been standard during the privileges assessment
       process in most hospitals. In fact, these provisions were included in
       the 2003 Joint OMA/OHA version of the by-laws.

    -  There is nothing in the new OHA by-laws, or the previous OHA/OMA by-
       laws, that would super-cede a physician's ethical duties to patients
       or their responsibilities as a member of Ontario's College of
       Physicians and Surgeons.
    

SOURCE Ontario Hospital Association

For further information: For further information: Amy Ouellette, OHA Public Affairs, (416) 205-1433, aouellette@oha.com


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