ADVOCACY: COVID-19 PANDEMIC
OPA continues to work with all provincial funders and with the CPA on extended heath benefit insurers on solutions to fund physiotherapy delivered through virtual means.
Pandemic Pay Support for Front Line Providers
On April 25, the Ontario Government announced a temporary pandemic wage supplement program for front line healthcare workers on top of their regular wages. Though the announcement spoke to front line workers in acute care, long-term care and home and community care who are working to address the health needs of Ontarians during the pandemic the list that accompanies the announcement includes some professions but not others. OPA calls on the government to confirm that physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants working on the front line of the pandemic are included in this program.
Read OPA’s Media Release May 1, 2020
Read the letter April 28, 2020
Advocating for Equitable Rates for Physiotherapy Providers through Home & Community Care
On April 17, the Ministry issued a memo outlining their COVID-19 Plan for home and community, including updated guidelines for virtual visit rates. Though we were pleased to see the recognition that the per visit rate should be increased for full scope visits by the professions, rates varied significantly between the professions and what would define a full scope visit was to be determined by each LHIN. These matters were addressed in a letter to government submitted by OPA on behalf of the profession and a separate joint letter signed by the Ontario Associations representing OT, Dieticians and Social Workers. OPA has also requested a follow up meeting with the Executive Lead, Ontario Health Teams and the Director, Home and Community Care Branch, at the Ministry of Health.
Read OPA letter
Read the Joint Association letter
On March 31, the Associations representing dietitians, rehabilitation therapies and social work regulated health professions in home care jointly submitted a letter to the Director, Home and Community Care Branch, Ministry of Health to bring attention to the issue of funding for virtual visits in home care, the availability of PPE and the impact on health human resources and access to care in the home.
Read the letter
The Health Professionals Forum to the WSIB provided guidance to the WSIB as they prepared to make virtual health care options available to those injured at work. The WSIB is supporting virtual care for the delivery of its programs and services and paying the fees associated with the programs when services are provided virtually. Find out more.
On March 27, the Coalition sent a letter to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, FSRAO, and the Minister of Finance outlining guiding principles and recommendations to ensure that Ontario’s auto insurance industry can temporarily adapt its policies and processes for accident benefits to ensure safe and efficient care delivery during this time.
- Funding services accessed through virtual care, including telephone and/or video contact with clients
- Adjustments to provisions under the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG), Medical and Rehabilitation and Attendant Care Benefits (Non-Minor), Insurer’s Examiners (IE)
- Provisions to the administration processes including completion/submission of forms and receiving payment
- Funding support for caregivers fulfilling PSW roles
- Funding to ensure appropriate access to personal protective equipment (PPE)
Read the letter
Respiratory Physiotherapy, Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 April 2020
Access to Physiotherapy Services April 2019
Use of the “physiotherapy” descriptor June 2010
Preferred Provider Networks January 2006
Canadian Physiotherapy Association Position Statements
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SUBMISSIONS & RESPONSES
Advocating for Implementation of Physiotherapy Scope Changes
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs Pre-Budget Consultations invited written submissions with a focus on input on improving critical public services such as healthcare and education, improving quality of life for Ontarians, creating jobs and attracting business to the province. OPA submitted and highlighted how implementing the outstanding scope of practice for physiotherapists in Ontario would lead to healthcare and system improvements on behalf of patients while bringing no additional costs to the system.
Login to read OPA’s submission
Login to read OPA’s responses
Feedback on Ontario Health (Quality) Quality Standards & Health Technology Assessments
Health Quality Ontario (HQO), now Ontario Health (Quality) engages in public consultation on their draft Quality Standards and Health Technology Assessments (HTA). Quality Standards and Health Technology Assessments have an impact on the health system and the physiotherapy profession. OPA monitors these consultation opportunities and brings relevant standards to the attention of the profession so that PTs can provide feedback to inform Ontario Health (Quality)’s work in this area. Login to view submissions from OPA with our feedback sent on behalf of the profession and our membership:
- Heart Failure Quality Standard
- Compression Stockings for the Prevention of Venous Leg Ulcer Recurrence
- Structured Education and Neuromuscular Exercise Programs for Hip and/or Knee Osteoarthritis
- Low Back Pain Quality Standard: Care for Adults with Acute Low Back Pain
- Health Technology Assessment: Continual Long-Term Physiotherapy After Stroke
- HQO Consultation on Diabetes Standards
- Patient Transition Quality Standard
- Quality Standard and Patient Guide for Concussion
Joint Submission on Implementing Outstanding Scope of Practice Changes for Physiotherapy
On September 20, 2017, Minister Hoskins announced that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care would be moving forward with expanding the scope of practice for regulated health professionals, including physiotherapists. In December 2017, the Ontario Physiotherapy Association and the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario jointly submitted a response to the Ministry’s request for information to facilitate the creation of regulations that would permit physiotherapists to order specific x-rays, diagnostic ultrasound and lab tests within their scope of practice.
Read Submission here
In April 2019, as part of the Ontario Budget, the Government released their Blueprint for Putting Driver’s first, a plan to reform the auto insurance industry in Ontario. This plan focuses on addressing high costs for insurance and barriers to participating in/accessing programs and services for those injured in a car accident. As Co-Chairs of the Coalition, OPA has been at numerous tables participating in an advisory capacity. The Coalition has also been responding to consultation opportunities. Recent submissions are below:
Response to The Marshall Report – Fair Benefits, Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario
Read OPA’s response
Read the Coalition’s response
Levels of Care Framework
The MOHLTC’s Levels of Care Framework discussion paper was released in July as part of the Patients First Roadmap. The discussion paper outlines a proposal for a province-wide framework that will guide decisions around service levels and access for home and community care. The aim is to improve consistency in access to high-quality care across Ontario. OPA submitted a written response to the discussion paper that highlighted the need for a greater focus on the rehabilitative potential of people receiving care, and the value of early rehab intervention.
Read OPA’s response
Questions or comments can be sent to Amanda Smart, Director, Practice, Policy and Members Services.
OPA’s Response to Minister Hoskin’s Patients First Proposal
In December 2015, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care released a proposal to address structural issues that will improve inequities and access to care. Stakeholders were invited to provide a written response as part of the consultation phase to this proposal.
OPA submitted a response on behalf of its members at the end of February. This response touched on key issues for the profession including:
- The importance of sound transition planning
- The need to optimize the role and scopes of practice for physiotherapists, especially in primary care
- The need to remove barriers to integration and funding for services across the system and
- The need for a set provincial standards and definitions of care and establish an evaluation system.
Read OPA’s full response
OPA Response to CPO’s Consultation on Revised Standards
OPA has submitted a response to the CPO consultation on the revised Standard for Advertising. We thank members who took time to share their thoughts about the revised Standard. Read the OPA Response
PERFORMING CONTROLLED ACTS AND OTHER RESTRICTED ACTIVITIES AND PHYSIOTHERAPISTS WORKING WITH ASSISTANTS.
OPA has submitted a response to the CPO’s consultation on revised professional standards for Performing Controlled Acts and Other Restricted Activities and Physiotherapists Working with Assistants. We thank members who took time to share their thoughts with us about the revisions. Many noted concerns regarding the delegation of controlled acts by physiotherapists. The ability to delegate controlled acts has been in place for some time for physiotherapists but the revision of the standard made this more clear. As with physicians and most other regulated professions, we believe that physiotherapists have the knowledge and judgement to be able to decide whether delegation of a controlled act is appropriate. We do understand members’ concerns and for this reason have recommended that the standard include reference to the regulation that states that it is professional misconduct to delegate to someone who isn’t appropriate in competence or judgement so that all understand the elevated risk of delegation.
Read the OPA Response
Please write to Amanda Smart with the subject line “CPO standards” with any questions or comments.
Auditor General’s special report on CCACs, 2015
Recently, the Auditor General of Ontario released the special report Community Care Access Centres- Financial Operations and Service Delivery. Login to read OPA’s comment on the report to learn more about current discussions in home care. OPA encourages members in all sectors to join the conversation.
Response to Reductions in Publicly Funded Physiotherapy
OPA closely monitors reductions and/or closures of physiotherapy services in the public sector. Reductions and closures affect physiotherapists and patients, the profession as a whole, as well as the entire health care system. When reductions to physiotherapy services are announced the OPA takes a series of steps to advocate on behalf of physiotherapists and their patients. Members can learn about these important steps.
View the current list of Reductions in Physiotherapy in Hospitals by LHIN (2008-Present)
Submission to the Ontario Clinic Regulation Working Group Consultation, December 2015
Read OPA’s Submission to the Ontario Clinic Regulation Consultation
Response to FSCO’s report on Minor Injury Protocols, August 2015
Read OPA’s response to FSCO’s Final report titled ‘Enabling Recovery from Common Traffic Injuries: A Focus on the Injured Person, Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management Collaboration’ and our response to the Common Traffic Impairment Guideline.
As co-chair of the Coalition of Health Professional Associations in Automobile Insurance Services (The Coalition), OPA participated in both the Coalition Response to MIG Final Report and the Coalition CTI Guideline Response. The draft CTI guideline is the first step in the development of policy based on the Final Report. OPA will remain involved in any further consultation opportunities with FSCO and the Ministry of Finance regarding this guideline and implementation plan.
FSCO Annual Statement of Priorities, 2015
FSCO is required by law to release an annual Statement of Priorities (“Statement”) outlining its proposed activities for the coming year. These priorities are made available for comment prior to being finalized.
Read the Coalition’s response to the 2015 FSCO Draft Statement of Priorities
Proposed Changes to the SABS, 2015
The 2015 Ontario Government Budget announcement included areas specific to auto insurance that would require a number of amendments to the Ontario Regulation 34/10 (Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule) of the Insurance Act.
Read the Coalition’s response to these proposed changes
Seniors Care Submissions
In response to the feedback survey and consultation conducted on the New Government-wide Seniors Strategy consultation, OPA submitted feedback on the 2019 Seniors Strategy report. We highlighted the importance of developing a strategy that enables seniors to live safely and healthy so they can stay in their community and live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
In conjunction with the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT), the OPA responded to an invitation by Dr. Samir Sinha to provide a submission on the importance of the inclusion of physiotherapy and occupational therapy services within the Ontario Government’s Seniors Care Strategy. The Seniors Care Strategy is part of Patient’s First: Action Plan for Health Care and aims to help seniors live healthier and longer within their homes.
Read the 2012 Seniors Care Submission
Physiotherapy Scope of Practice Changes Proclaimed April 1, 2011
In 2011, the OPA and its advocacy partners celebrated the proclamation of changes to the Physiotherapy Act that expanded the scope of practice of physiotherapists and allowed them to deliver more services, and authorized acts within that scope. Read the Physiotherapy Scope of Practice Announcement.
Most of these changes came into effect September 1, 2011; however, those relating to ordering diagnostics are still outstanding. The OPA continues to advocate for the implementation of the full scope of practice for physiotherapists. To learn more or to get involved please contact the OPA.
View the Physiotherapy Scope of Practice Review submission to the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council
OPA supports the updated Action Plan for Health Care, February 2015
On February 2, 2015, the Honourable Dr. Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care released Patient’s First: Action Plan for Health Care. OPA supports this next phase of the Plan, specifically as it relates to the access to physiotherapy in primary care and increased services for seniors. The Plan also speaks to the importance of the expanding scope of practice and removing barriers to health care professionals practicing to their full scope.
Ontario Premier outlines future direction of Ministries, September 2014
Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne released 30 letters, one to each member of the cabinet and their ministry, outlining each ministry’s mandate as well as the government’s collective priorities and objectives.
OPA has selected several points from the Premier’s letter to Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, as areas of particular interest to our members.
Read OPA’s Media releases