WHERE WE STAND

ADVOCACY: COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Physiotherapy Services Re-opening

Effective May 26 with the release of the amended CMOH Directive #2 and a new guidance document COVID-19 Operational Requirements: Health Sector Restart physiotherapy clinics that meet the requirements may begin to open.

The new directive was amended to reflect the gradual restart of all deferred and non-essential and elective services carried out by health care providers. The guidance document outlines measures that must be in place for the provision of in-person health services by health care providers. As per the amended Directive, “Health Care Providers are in the best position to determine which services should continue to be provided remotely (online, by telephone or other virtual means) and which should be provided in-person. This should be guided by best clinical evidence. Health Care Providers must also adhere to the guidance provided by their applicable health regulatory college”.

OPA has been, and is in daily communications with the Ministry, the CMOH and the College on the status of re-opening physiotherapy services in the community. We are pleased that our advocacy and the engagement of our members to amplify the voice of the profession has led to the regulatory changes that expanded the essential list to include regulated health professionals with no limitation for urgent care only. This final step in the amendment of Directive #2 opens the way to restarting physiotherapy services.

Review the Directive and the COVID-19 Operational Requirements: Health Sector Restart in addition College of Physiotherapists of Ontario guidance.

OPA urges government to include physiotherapy services in re-opening plans

On May 12, OPA wrote to the Co-Chairs of the Emergency Operations Committee Command Table urging the opening of physiotherapy services in the community as part of a system approach for full access to essential health services by Ontarians.

Read the letter May 12, 2020

Read the follow-up letter May 15, 2020


Pandemic Pay Support for Front Line Providers

April 24, 2020

The Ontario Government announced a temporary pandemic wage supplement program for front line healthcare workers on top of their regular wages. 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 the letter submitted April 28, 2020.

May 1, 2020

OPA published a Media Release urging the Ontario Government to correct the striking inequity in eligibility and ensure all professions, including PTs & PTAs, who provide essential front line services to patients with COVID-19 are included in the program. Read OPA’s Media Release.

May 4, 2020

Listen to OPA’s CEO, Dorianne Sauvé speak on CBC Ottawa radio on PTs & PTAs and Pandemic Pay in Ontario.

May 5, 2020

OPA received confirmation from the Ministry of Long-Term Care that physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants (either employed by the home or contracted) who work onsite in LTC homes (not virtual) are eligible for the pandemic pay program. Read the FAQ from the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

May 27, 2020

OPA received notification in the form of memorandum from the Deputy Minister of Health Helen Angus which stated that:
“As you know, on April 25, the government announced it is providing eligible frontline and support workers with temporary pandemic pay. Since that time, we have received inquiries about whether the list of eligible workers or workplaces would be expanded. There is a limit to the amount of funding provided by the federal government through our agreement and after careful consideration, the government will not be expanding the pandemic pay beyond those already deemed eligible.”

For physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants this means that only those who meet the requirements in Long-Term Care Homes and Licensed Retirement Homes are included in the program. Though the list will not be expanded due to insufficient funds we feel strongly all health care providers who face the same risk should be eligible for the same pandemic pay supplements and publicly recognized for their work in during the pandemic. OPA will continue to push to ensure that the vital role that physiotherapy plays during this health care crisis is understood and valued and we thank all our members who took the time to share how their work impacts patients with their MPP, the Minister of Health and the Premier.

June 3, 2020

OPA President, Paulette Gardiner Millar issued a letter to members of the OPA indicating that OPA will not stop advocating for the recognition by government for the critical and essential work that physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants are doing during this pandemic and beyond but we will not wait for the government either.

#WeArePT-logo

Members are encouraged to use #WeArePT and share how you have been, and are there now for Ontarians every day. Members are to share their stories of impact on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and include the hashtag. OPA will be amplifying and using these stories so that the public and decision makers can see the value of PT and the difference we make for Ontarians.

OPA Members –  Login to read OPA’s Letter from the President.

OPA continues to advocate strongly for the inclusion of PTs and PTAs in the other sectors that are part of this program including all hospitals (including Rehab), Licensed Retirement Homes and Home and Community Care.

Home Care

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


WSIB

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.


Auto Insurance

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.
Recommendations included:

  • 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


POSITION STATEMENTS

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


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


Home Care

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


WSIB

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.


Auto Insurance

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.
Recommendations included:

  • 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


POSITION STATEMENTS

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


OPA MEMBERS – LOGIN TO ACCESS THE FULL CONTENT 

SUBMISSIONS & RESPONSES

Advocating for Implementation of Physiotherapy Scope Changes

Member content

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

Rowan’s Law

Member content

Login to read OPA’s responses

Feedback on Ontario Health (Quality) Quality Standards & Health Technology Assessments

Member content

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:

  1. Heart Failure Quality Standard
  2. Compression Stockings for the Prevention of Venous Leg Ulcer Recurrence
  3. Structured Education and Neuromuscular Exercise Programs for Hip and/or Knee Osteoarthritis
  4. Low Back Pain Quality Standard: Care for Adults with Acute Low Back Pain
  5. Health Technology Assessment: Continual Long-Term Physiotherapy After Stroke
  6. HQO Consultation on Diabetes Standards
  7. Patient Transition Quality Standard
  8. 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

Auto Insurance  

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

Member content

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

ADVERTISING

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

Member content

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

Member content

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

July 2019

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.

October 2012

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 

KEY MESSAGES

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

Member content

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