Council Update

May 29-30, 2014

Council Award to Dr. Helen Ward; Provide Feedback on New Consultations; Transparency Initiative; Registration Policy Update; Other News

Jun 04, 2014

Dr. Helen WardDr. Helen Ward

Council Award Recipient 

Dr. Helen Ward, a forensic psychiatrist, was presented with the Council Award at the May meeting.

Dr. Ward is clinical director of the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre's 46-bed forensic psychiatry unit where she supervises 10 psychiatrists, in addition to carrying a caseload of 12 to 16 inpatients, as well as 250 outpatients.

In 2007, Dr. Ward was instrumental in spearheading the creation of the Mental Health Court in Ottawa. The collaborative program - involving the Crown, judges and defence lawyers - is designed to help offenders with serious mental illness such as manic depression, severe anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and dementia get easier and faster access to treatment, and at the same time, determine their capacity for criminal behaviour or to face trial.

Her colleague Dr. Jonathan Gray, who nominated her for this award, described Dr. Ward as "always warm, respectful and engaged in all her interactions with other staff and patients."


Provide Feedback on New Consultations 

Telemedicine Policy

Council wants to hear what you have to say about the updated draft of the College's Telemedicine policy. Council voted to approve the draft for an external consultation.

Given the evolution of technology and increased use of telemedicine in diverse practice settings, the draft policy contains a number of new or revised expectations to ensure it is clear, up-to-date and comprehensive.

A Working Group developed the draft with the overarching premise that the practice of telemedicine is the practice of medicine; as such, physicians' existing legal and professional obligations remain applicable when providing care via telemedicine. Because the technology is evolving at such a fast pace, the draft does not specify technical requirements, or name which technologies are or are not secure. Instead, it sets out general expectations for the practise of telemedicine, along with specific expectations for practising telemedicine across borders.

Please read the draft policy and provide your feedback. The draft policy is the cover story for the upcoming issue of Dialogue


Preliminary Policy Consultations

We are also embarking on preliminary consultations on three existing policies:

  1. Blood Borne Pathogens
  2. Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code 
  3. Physician Behaviour in the Professional Environment

Feedback obtained through these consultations will inform the policy review process for each policy moving forward. Please visit our consultations page for more information and to provide your thoughts. The closing date for consultation is August 5th.


Transparency Initiative

Transparency initiativeCouncil has advanced its initiative to enhance the transparency of information - both about physicians, and the effectiveness of self-regulation - by approving, in principle, the steps needed to improve the clarity of existing information.

At its most recent meeting, Council directed that tools be developed - which may include proposed by-laws - to pursue making public the following information: criminal findings of guilt, certain bail conditions, and the identity of non-members who are practising illegally.

These decisions of Council reflect recognition of the importance of transparency. It is believed that access to more information may assist people in choosing health-care professionals and better allow members of the public and the profession to determine how well organizations - such as ours - perform in carrying out their mandates. As such, this is an initiative in which we are joined by other Ontario health-care regulators.

Council also engaged in a preliminary discussion of the second phase of this transparency initiative. The second phase will focus on discussions about potentially providing more information to the public, with a particular emphasis on outcomes of the Colleges' Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. Council acknowledged that making public some of these categories of information would be a significant departure from the College's current approach and would, therefore, demand considerably more discussion about the details with the profession and the public. The next step is to draft by-laws, which will then be circulated for comment.

"Consultation with the profession and the public has been and will continue to be an essential element of this process," said Dr. Rocco Gerace, College Registrar. Look for more information in the upcoming issue of Dialogue.


Registration Policy Update

Council made two decisions regarding registration policy at its meeting.

Council began the meeting by renewing the policy on Canadian Citizenship/Permanent Resident Status Exemption with no amendments.

Applicants requesting exemption under this policy otherwise meet all standards and qualifications required for issuance of an independent practice certificate. In most cases, the individuals are in the process of applying for permanent residence status or Canadian citizenship at the time of the Committee's review.

Council also agreed to formalize in policy the existing practice of exempting applicants from the requirement of completing one year of Canadian practice experience if they otherwise meet all standards and qualifications required for issuance of an independent practice certificate.

Under current regulation, this requirement applies to all independent practice applicants. Canadian graduates automatically satisfy this requirement by virtue of their completion of the clerkship. It was also pointed out that evidence of one year of postgraduate medical education or active practice in Canada is not a requirement for any other class of certificate.


Other News

Quality Assurance Committee Changes

Council approved amendments to the Quality Assurance Committee and program fees by-law. Council also approved a new fee model for the Quality Assurance program.

Specific assessment fee amounts have been removed from the by-law to allow greater flexibility in changing fees without requiring the by-law to be re-opened each time a fee change is determined. Any future changes to assessment fees will require approval by Council.

It is important to note that the approved fee model would apply to less than 10% of all assessments - those are second and subsequent peer re-assessments, change in scope assessments and comprehensive practice assessments. The College's practice covers costs related to initial peer assessment and first peer re-assessment as it underscores the educational focus of the peer assessment program.

The fee model is flexible, and operates on a cost-recovery basis similar to the model used by the OHPIP and IHF programs.

Council believed clear communication is needed to explain how the fees are calculated. Please see FAQs for more information.


Release of CPSO Data

Council was provided with an overview of a proposed strategy that would allow the College a clear, transparent, centralized approach to data-sharing requests. Council was then given an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed strategy.

At the September Council meeting, this item will be brought back for decision.

Currently, te College receives a number of requests from different organizations requesting data on such matters as physician demographics, and complaint trends, for example. The requests have become increasingly complex and existing tools, such as the Release of Physician Information in Batch Form policy are dated and do not address all relevant considerations.

The proposed strategy - with its vision, decision-making tool and governance structure - will enhance the consistency of responses to data-sharing requests, and will enable the College to respond to requests in a more timely manner. It would also ensure that the College would be a responsible steward of data while still allowing us to contribute to knowledge.

An article about the strategy will appear in an upcoming issue of Dialogue.