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Minister Considering Seeking Approval of Certain Regulation Proposals to Improve Access to Care for Ontarians

Bill 179, the Regulated Health Professions Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009,is currently being considered by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  In addition to this new legislation, if passed, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care may propose to seek approval for certain regulatory amendments.  These regulation changes would complement and support the legislative changes proposed in Bill 179.

It is important to note that the length of time it takes to make regulations depends on the need for consultations within the ministry, with other ministries and stakeholders, the time required for drafting, the availability of government approval processes and, more generally, other priorities of government.

Bill 179 was introduced on May 11, 2009.  If passed, it will increase access to health care for Ontarians by:

 

The regulation changes the Minister is proposing would further ensure that patients have better access to health care and more choices in who may provide it to them.

The proposed changes are listed below.  They are categorized into two groups: 1) those that may be made if Bill 179 is passed in its current form; and 2) those that may be made regardless of whether or not Bill 179 is passed.

1.   Regulation amendments that may be proposed if Bill 179 is passed in its current form

If Bill 179 is passed in its current form,

1.   Regulation amendments under the Public Hospitals Act may be proposed to:

  1. give physiotherapists the powers necessary to allow them to make orders for treatment and diagnostic procedures in hospitals in accordance with the practice of the profession; and
  2. give respiratory therapists the powers necessary to allow them to make an order for specified treatment in hospitals in accordance with the practice of the profession.

2.   Regulation amendments under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 may be proposed to:

  1. authorize nurse practitioners to order the application of sound waves for diagnostic ultrasound without restrictions;
  2. authorize nurse practitioners to apply certain forms of energy;
  3. authorize nurse practitioners to order the application of electromagnetism for magnetic resonance imaging;
  4. authorize physiotherapists to order the application of electromagnetism for magnetic resonance imaging under certain conditions as set out in the regulation; and
  5. authorize physiotherapists to order the application of sound waves for diagnostic ultrasound under certain conditions as set out in the regulation.

3.   Regulation amendments under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act may be proposed to:

  1. authorize pharmacists to order laboratory tests as set out in regulation for the purpose of medication monitoring and management; and
  2. authorize physiotherapists to order laboratory tests set out in regulation.

4.   Regulation amendments under the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act may be proposed to:

  1. specify the manner in which a physiotherapist may prescribe x-rays.

5.   Regulation amendments under the Optometry Act, 1991 may be proposed by the College of Optometrists of Ontario to:

  1. allow optometrists to prescribe topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents to treat patients diagnosed with acute angle closure of glaucoma in emergency situations where no physician is available and to immediately refer the patient for additional care; and
  2. permit optometrists to treat primary open angle glaucoma; however, open angle glaucoma complicated by co-morbidities such as diabetes under any proposal must be done in circumstances where a co-management model of care exists with an optometrist and ophthalmologist.

In reviewing any proposal that may be made by the College if Bill 179 passes in its current form, the Minister may take into consideration the recommendations that were made by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council respecting matters that include standards of practice, education requirements, appropriate client populations, types of glaucoma and other necessary conditions and/or restrictions to ensure the safety of patients.


2.   Regulations that may be made regardless of Bill 179

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care may propose certain regulatory amendments:

1.   Regulation amendments under the Public Hospitals Act may be proposed to:

  1. give nurse practitioners the powers necessary to allow them to make orders for treatment and diagnostic procedures for in-patients in hospitals in accordance with the practice of the profession; and
  2. give dietitians the powers necessary to allow them to make orders for laboratory tests for nutritional assessment and monitoring in accordance with the practice of the profession.

2.   Regulation amendments under the Public Hospitals Act and the Vital Statistics Act may be proposed to:

  1. authorize nurse practitioners to complete medical certificates of death when death is expected in accordance with any prescribed circumstances or conditions; and
  2. authorize registered nurses to complete a medical certificate of death under prescribed circumstances.

3.   Regulation amendments under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act may be proposed to:

  1. authorize dietitians to order specified laboratory tests as set out in regulation for nutritional assessment and monitoring; and
  2. authorize nurse practitioners to order laboratory tests with no restrictions.
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