Health regulators want accountability of health clinics
The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) has teamed up with several health regulatory colleges in Ontario exploring the possibility of regulating health care clinic in the province.
By Mari-Len De
Regulating clinics imposes obligations and facilitate accountability among clinic owners in a bid to enhance public interest and protect individual practitioners.
“Because unregulated clinic owners have inadequate accountability, in the current system, there is no effective mechanism to prevent or address inappropriate behaviours,” the CMTO said in a letter sent to RMTs.
Other colleges seeking regulation for clinics include: the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, which spearheaded the initiative; College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario; College of Chiropractors of Ontario; College of Chiropodists of Ontario; College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario; Transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario; College of Kinesiologists of Ontario; and College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
These nine colleges have since formed a clinic regulation working group tasked with analyzing, developing and establishing parameters for clinic regulation, and eventually identifying alternative models for regulation.
“Throughout the development process, working group representatives have been engaging in information consultations with key stakeholders,” according to the CMTO. These stakeholders include representatives from the insurance industry, professional associations, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario, and Health Quality Ontario.
Imposing clinic regulations will enhance the protection offered by the various regulatory colleges separately, Jonathan Maister, a RMT and athletic therapist based in Markham, Ont., commented. He called the initiative “very wise, positive and inclusive.”
“Owners are often not medical people, but business-focused individuals only –though medical practitioners may also be guilty. The totally profit driven motivation at the expense of quality care for the public, can be addressed and the public protected,” Maister said.
He added that regulating clinics and clinic owners will ensure that the “medical mandate” of the health practitioners are fulfilled and they are not “coerced by profit-driven bosses whose conduct is unscrupulous.”
Maister, however, hopes this planned regulation will not add extra costs to practitioners. As both an athletic therapist and RMT, he also pointed out how this planned clinic regulation will affect non-regulated professions, such as athletic therapists.
The Registered Massage Therapists of Ontario (RMTAO) also welcomed the move citing many reports from its members dealing with clinic owners engaging in unethical activities, such as preventing access to health records or using RMT registration numbers inappropriately.
“This is an opportunity to assist in the evolution of our self-regulation, and help prevent undue pressure being placed on RMTs when there are conflicts about regulatory requirements,” said Andrew Lewarne, executive director and CEO of the RMTAO.
The association also noted the CMTO’s expressed intention to be non-duplicative and cost-neutral with regards to clinic regulation.
The clinic regulation working group will be pursuing new legislation to facilitate clinic regulation. Features of this proposed legislation will include: mandatory participation; premises inspection; a public register for greater transparency; a complaints process; periodic reporting by the clinic to the regulator; mandatory reporting of adverse events for risk management; on-site display of licence and inspection outcomes; and an identified responsible person who is a regulated health professional with good moral character.
The clinic regulation working group will embark on a consultation process with stakeholders and members of the concerned professions in the coming months. The group plans to submit its proposal for clinic regulation to the Ontario government by 2016.