BILL 78: An opposition bill pushing for accountability in the funding of Ontario’s health care services

On March 11, 2015, France Gélinas, the NDP’s health critic, introduced Bill 78, the Transparent and Accountable Health Care Act, 2015. Bill 78 has since passed second reading in the Ontario legislature and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on March 26, 2015.

The Bill proposes to promote transparency and accountability in the funding of health care services in Ontario by:

  • ensuring that certain persons and entities that receive public funds directly or indirectly are covered by legislative requirements relating to accountabi¬lity and transparency; and
  • requiring annual reporting on payments made by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to certain persons and entities.

Both physicians and major suppliers to Ontario’s public health sector would be particularly impacted by this proposed legislation.

Broadening the Reach of the BPSAA, PSSDA, Ombudsman and Auditor General

Bill 78 proposes to broaden the reach of Part II.1 of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 (BPSAA) and the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996 (PSSDA) to major health sector organizations and publicly-funded suppliers – in other words, to all health-sector entities receiving more than $1 million in public funding annually, whether directly or indirectly.

Subject to limited exceptions, Part II.1 of the BPSAA prohibits compensation increases for designated executives and restricts performance pay for designated employers. Currently, the only health-sector entities subject to these prohibitions are public hospitals. The Bill expands the reach of the PSSDA, which established Ontario’s “Sunshine List”, to all major health sector organizations, requiring the publication of the salaries of all employees earning over $100,000 per year.

Additionally, the mandate of the Auditor General is broadened by authorizing its audits of major health organizations and publicly-funded suppliers. Such health-sector entities would also be subject to oversight by the Ontario Ombudsman.

OHIP Payments Publication

Bill 78 would also require the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to annually publish a disclosure statement of the total amount paid to a person or entity receiving at least $100,000 through OHIP billings. The disclosure statement would also include “cautionary language”, explaining that the figures do not represent a physician’s net income. The cautionary language proposed by the Bill is as follows: “Readers of this disclosure statement should understand that it provides only a record of gross payments. In some instances, the recorded figure is a payment for the services of a number of physicians. Physicians must pay the expenses of their practice out of this gross amount. No calculation of a physician’s net income can be made from such figures. Conclusions cannot be drawn from these figures about the relative net income of any physician since overhead varies greatly from physician to physician.”

“E”fficiencies in e-governance

We’ve all been there.  It’s time for the board/committee meetings again.  The meeting dates were predetermined months ago, you have to get the packages out in a few days and haven’t even started pulling them together.  The Chair has requested that all board and committee packages go out one week in advance of the meetings.  But now you learn that some board members will be out of town and require the packages earlier.  They are calling: — have the packages gone out yet? and when will we receive them? Read More

Has your board embraced e-Governance?

Is your board aware of the trend toward e-governance? What is e-governance? It’s using electronic devices and communication to enhance the efficiency of boards and committees, and it works for non-profit and charitable organizations as well.  Today, many such organizations have introduced board portals into their systems which allow board and committee members to access meeting materials and relevant organizational documents such as company charters, by-laws, strategic plans, and financial information.  Read More

DDO’s upcoming conference on Risk Management in Health Research

Research is a very rewarding endeavour for hospitals, their researchers and the client populations they serve.  Conducting research brings with it a certain amount of risk for the parties involved.  DDO’s research conference, “Risk Management Issues in Health Research,” aims to explore a number of topics faced by hospital administration and researchers when presented with a research opportunity, or when they initiate their own opportunities for research. Read More

IPC report: Privacy policies alone not sufficient (and how this report applies to health care organizations)

Introduction

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (“IPC”) released a report on September 5, 2012 titled “A Policy is Not Enough: It Must be Reflected in Concrete Practices”. As the title suggests, the IPC reminds us that a policy alone cannot protect privacy – it is the action stemming from the policy that is vital.  In its 21-page paper, the IPC provides 7 steps that organizations should consider implementing. Hospitals and other health care facilities should take note as these recommendations apply to you. The following is a summary of the key messages provided in the report. Read More

CCACs ordered to provide personal support services to difficult client

The Health Services Appeal and Review Board (Board) recently rescinded a decision of a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) involving the personal support services of a client.  In JC v South West Community Care Access Centre, the CCAC revised the client’s plan of service and, in particular, withdrew the services it was providing to the client.  The client sought to have the CCAC continue to provide the services to her.  The issue for the Board was to determine what services the client was entitled to and on what basis. Read More

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