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.
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.
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
PPE and Physiotherapy – OPA Letter April 17, 2020
Respiratory Physiotherapy, Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 April 2020