Ontario’s new Patient Ombudsman

Recently here at DDO we were discussing the role and powers of the Patient Ombudsman. The Patient Ombudsman has jurisdiction to resolve complaints about health service organizations such as public hospitals, long-term care facilities, and certain services provided by the LHINs.

The Patient Ombudsman is an office of last resort – so people having complaints must first explore resolution directly with their health service organization. When a complaint is filed, the Patient Ombudsman will ensure that no other body has jurisdiction over the complaint and, with patient consent, will try to facilitate resolution by contacting the health sector organization.

The Patient Ombudsman may investigate complaints where a facilitated resolution is unsuccessful. Health sector organizations such as hospitals and long-term care homes will be well placed to respond to inquiries from the Patient Ombudsman if their internal processes for addressing complaints are robust, thorough, and comprehensive.

For more information about the Patient Ombudsman, for help in crafting a robust complaint process, or for help in responding to an inquiry from the PO, please contact me at spalter@ddohealthlaw.com.

Health Sector Privacy Officer Training

 

Health Sector Privacy Officer Training – to register online

The privacy practices of health care organizations are under increasing scrutiny from patients (and their families), the courts, the media and the regulator, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC/O). As Privacy Officer, it is your job to ensure your organization is compliant with privacy laws and IPC/O guidelines. Whether you are new to the Privacy Officer role or are a seasoned privacy professional, you may wonder whether you have the latest information to do your job properly.  You may have already discovered that it is not enough to know the technicalities of the law; it is also important that you understand the spirit of the legislation and how to apply the law to specific and sometimes difficult situations.

This is the only course of its kind in Canada.

This course will give you confidence in your role by giving you the information and skills you need to succeed as a Privacy Officer.

You receive:

  • 20 hours of intensive instruction from leading legal educators in the field
    • 3 full day sessions each available in person in downtown Toronto or via webcast
  • Reassurance that you have the most current information on privacy practices and expectations for health care organizations
  • Practical and dynamic skills training for adult learners using scenarios, stories, quizzes and assignments
  • Sample tools to adapt to your organization for your everyday use, including (and many more):
    • Privacy program checklist
    • Privacy policies
    • Privacy breach checklist
    • Privacy breach notification
  • A privacy library
    • The primary Ontario privacy resource – “Guide to the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act: A Practical Guide for Health Care Providers” (H. Perun, M. Orr, F. Dimitriadis, Irwin Law, 2005)
    • Online resources are compiled for you in a few downloadable PDFs so you do not have to find the resources yourself and print them individually
  • A reading list to prepare you before each session
  • Homework to assist you to work through your own organization’s documents
  • A report card you complete yourself at the end of the course to share with your Board or supervisor to demonstrate your organization’s privacy compliance status and remaining privacy gaps, if any
  • A letter outlining the training you have received, for your organization’s due diligence

While we focus on Ontario legislation – this course is of value to any health sector Privacy Officer.

For more information go to our online registration platform. And for even more information, contact Franca Latino by phone at: 416-967-7100 x 242  or by email at: flatino@ddohealthlaw.com

Emergency Preparedness Program for Health Care Organizations

At DDO Health Law, we understand your organization’s need to put in place a robust emergency management plan (including for some organizations, by September 30, 2015). We have developed a 12-step program to help you meet that deadline and then continue to prepare your organization in case of emergency such as fire, flood, or pandemic.  Our program reflects current best practices, including materials provided by at least one local health integration network to its health services providers. We have read all of these materials and pulled from them and other resources to determine current best practices — so that you do not need to.

DDO Health Law’s Emergency Preparedness Program offers your organization the comfort and assurance of:

  • Understanding the pillars of emergency management, including Prevention and Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery
  • Creating organization-specific emergency management plans to establish simultaneous response to fires and other emergencies
  • Effectively participating in system level preparedness and coordinating emergency response with other health service providers
  • Properly training team members in case of emergency
  • Identifying key gaps, including hazard identification and risk analysis
  • How to best communicate with your clients, their families, the public and the media

The DDO Health Law Emergency Preparedness Program provides you with:

  •  Dial-in series. You will be invited to take part in 5 phone sessions, scheduled in September. We will provide you ahead of the calls a template plan, the 12 steps you need to take to be ready, and other templates and materials. Noon sessions are:
    • Thursday, September 3
    • Friday, September 11
    • Thursday, September 17
    • Thursday, September 24
    • Final session with open Q&A on Monday, September 28
  • Training materials. You will be provided template training materials for team members, including a training slide deck you can circulate before your Board signs off, even before you schedule an in-person session to walk your team through the training.
  • Admin on call workbook. DDO Health Law previously wrote an administrator on call workbook to help health care staff deal with various kinds of crises. It is the bedrock of emergency management. We will provide you a copy of this workbook, and a draft chapter specifically on emergency preparedness. We will also provide you a copy of the updated workbook once available, for your future reference.
  • Mutual aid/assistance agreement. This template agreement is ready to be used in the event that an emergency strikes your organization, and you need to quickly put into place legal arrangements to backfill services.
  • Briefing note for your senior leadership and Board. Written by DDO Health Law, it will state that you have signed up for and participated in the DDO Health Law program, have been provided with the materials described here, and that you have undertaken that you have “filled in the blanks” and taken the steps we’ll discuss in the dial-ins. As long you have done this, we are prepared to say that your organization is compliant and that your Board should feel assured that it can sign the M-SAA by September 30, 2015 as requested by at least one LHIN. For others who do not need a September 30 signoff, the materials and briefing note still serves as a baseline for your Board and shows a measure of your due diligence.
  • Board resolution. Template Board resolutions will be provided, both for those organizations that must meet the September 30 deadline, and a more generic one for those that do not.
  • Feel free to include whomever you wish on the dial-in. The flat fee covers any team members you want to have at your table to listen in and ask questions as you work through and finalize your plan and program.

Registration is $1,000.00 plus HST ($1,130). We accept Visa or cheques.

Fax to Franca Latino at (416) 967-7120; or call her at (416) 967.7100 ext. 242 to say you will register and how you will pay.

DDO HEALTH LAW

Mary Jane Dykeman and Kate Dewhirst are partners at DDO Health Law, a boutique health law firm in Toronto. They frequently advise on risk management issues relating to health care organizations premises, reputational risk, staff issues and other crises. Mary Jane was recently part of a fire safety emergency preparedness panel at the 2015 OANHSS annual convention. Mary Jane and Kate work extensively with community providers, large and small hospitals, community support services providers, disease associations, long-term care homes, family health teams, community health centres, retirement homes and other housing and health service providers.

Feel free to email or call Mary Jane Dykeman at (416) 967-7100 ext. 225 with any questions

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.”

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down prohibition on assisted suicide

Mary Jane Dykeman interviewed about the new Supreme Court of Canada decision released today in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General)

See article: http://www.advocatedaily.com/supreme-court-reverses-ban-on-doctor-assisted-death-unconstitutional.html

Ontario’s IPC launches new resources to guard against snooping and other unauthorized access to personal health information

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario launched a new campaign yesterday called “Is snooping on patients worth It?” See video and other resources.

Also included in this campaign is a new resource document for health care organizations called “Detecting and Deterring Unauthorized Access to Personal Health Information”.  This is a must read for all health care Privacy Officers.

The IPC/O’s tips for preventing or reducing the risk of unauthorized access include:

  • Develop and implement comprehensive privacy policies and review those policies on an annual basis
  • Provide mandatory privacy training for all staff – which includes initial orientation as well as ongoing privacy training and maintain a log of attendance
  • Prominently display privacy notices reminding staff of their privacy obligations
  • Include privacy warning flags in electronic health records to remind staff of their privacy obligations
  • Require all staff and other agents to sign confidentiality agreements on a regular basis
  • Have end-user agreements for anyone using your electronic information systems
  • Develop and implement a policy to restrict access to health information on a need-to-know basis only
  • Log, audit and monitor all accesses to electronic health records
  • Follow the IPC’s guidelines on privacy breach management with respect to patient notification and maintain a log of privacy breaches
  • Impose consistent, appropriate and proportionate disciplinary action for privacy breaches

DDO provides privacy coaching, breach management advice and on-site privacy training for health care organizations. If you haven’t reviewed your privacy policies lately or engaged your staff in formal privacy training in a number of years, call us to assist you. Mary Jane Dykeman mjdykeman@ddohealthlaw.com  416-967-7100 x 225

 

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