Health Bulletins

Statement by Ontario Health Minister on International Patient Care in Ontario Hospitals

November 21, 2014

Today, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, issued the following statement on international patients receiving care in Ontario hospitals:

"In 2012, the Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care sent letters to Ontario hospitals engaged in international patient activity outlining the ministry's expectations regarding programs that provide services to international patients. Last August, I affirmed the ministry's expectations.

Hospitals were informed that:

Today I am taking additional steps to ensure our universal health care system is protected.

While I am confident that our hospitals have been making every effort to comply with the directives outlined previously, we need to work collaboratively with our hospital partners to ensure that there is clarity and a supportive framework about how this important issue is handled.

As a first step, I have sent a letter to all Ontario hospitals requesting that they not market to, solicit or treat international patients, with the exception of international patient activity related to a hospital's existing international consulting contracts.

This will not affect the commendable work that our hospitals have always undertaken in the areas of charitably-funded and humanitarian care, or specific arrangements already made with an individual international patient. As well, this will not affect vacationers, students, workers, landed immigrants and refugees in the province who need medical care.

In order to ensure future accountability and transparency, my ministry will work with relevant hospitals on a framework to ensure compliance with the above principles and requirements. In the interim, I have asked hospitals not to enter into new international consulting contracts that include the treatment of foreign nationals in Ontario.

While this is a relatively small component of hospital work across the province, this pause will allow the ministry time to determine whether further actions or guidelines are necessary to ensure hospitals contemplating international hospital consulting contracts are doing so in a way that complies with the principles outlined in 2012 and last August.

We can all be proud of our world class hospitals, whose shared priority is to deliver quality health care to the people of our province. As Minister, I am committed to working with the hospitals to continue to protect our universal health care system."

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