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Ministry Status: Activation Status

Genetic Testing Advisory Committee

Terms of Reference

The Genetic Testing Advisory Committee was established on the following Terms of Reference; portions related to internal Committee functions are omitted.

The Committee’s advisory capacity was to have begun on January 31, 2014, however the actual start date was April 2014.

Purpose

The Genetic Testing Advisory Committee (“Committee”) will advise the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on the clinical utility and value of existing and new genetic tests in Ontario, with a commitment to employing an evidence-based approach in conducting evaluations of such tests.

Mandate

The function of the Committee is to evaluate genetic tests and provide written summary reports to the Ministry on whether sufficient evidence supports the clinical utility, validity and value for money of a genetic test.

The Committee, with the support of the Ministry, will perform horizon scanning and provide advice on the availability and potential impacts of new and emerging genetic tests and technologies.

The Committee is a short-term body and will act in an advisory capacity, from January 31, 2014 to January 30, 2017.

Specific Responsibilities of Committee Members (“Members”):

  1. Once provided with the initial list of prioritized tests for review, the Committee will perform a secondary prioritization of tests by applying specific prioritization criteria.
  2. Conduct reviews under a General Evaluation Stream:
    1. For tests of sufficiently high priority, evidence, and population health impact, the Committee will conduct a rigorous evidence evaluation to produce summary reports on test utility and value.
    2. The Committee will submit their evidence summary reports to the General Manager of OHIP, Negotiations and Accountability Management Division (NAMD).
    3. The Committee will provide support to the Ministry in developing responses to inquiries and requests pertaining to the outcome of evidence reviews and posting of evidence summary reports.
    4. The Committee will review a minimum of 6 high cost, high volume tests annually through the General Evaluation Stream.
  3. Conduct reviews of specific genetic tests under an Exceptional Access Evaluation Stream:
    1. For tests with low prevalence and/or limited evidence to support their effectiveness but with potentially high individual health impact, evaluations will be conducted under the Exceptional Access Evaluation Stream.
    2. The Committee will evaluate tests in this stream using a simplified evaluation process.
    3. The Committee will submit their evidence summary reports to the NAMD.
    4. The Committee will review approximately 75-90 exceptional access tests annually through the Exceptional Access Evaluation stream.
  4. Collaborate with the NAMD to perform horizon scanning on the availability and impacts of new/upcoming genetic technologies.
  5. Provide advice on relevant genetic service issues as requested by the Ministry.

The prioritization and evidence review criteria for both evaluation streams will be finalized based on discussion between the Ministry and the Committee.

Membership

The Minister will appoint Committee members, including a Chair, pursuant to section 9 of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.M.26.

The committee will be comprised of a maximum of 12 Members plus a chairperson.  Members, including the Chair, will serve for a period not exceeding 3 years.

Subject to prior written approval of the Ministry, the Ministry will reimburse Committee members for travel, meal and accommodation expenses in accordance with the Management Board of Cabinet, Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.

Chair

The Chair shall perform all of the requirements of the Committee Members listed above, as well as and the following additional requirements:

  1. Agenda setting and meeting with the Secretariat in advance of, or between meetings of the Committee
  2. Presiding at all meetings of the Committee, and being responsible for the general supervision of the affairs and business of the Committee.
  3. Providing direction that Committee advice/summary reports are cohesive and consistent with determined review criteria.

Meeting Schedule

After the inaugural year of operation, the Committee will meet no less than 6 times per year, and may meet more frequently as requested by the Ministry to address specific issues of concern. Meetings will be by teleconference or by videoconference, as much as possible. Additional meetings or meetings via teleconference or videoconference may be held as requested by the Ministry. Members may be asked to review and comment on relevant documents circulated between meetings.

Administrative Support

Secretariat support for the Committee will be provided through the Provincial Programs Branch (PPB), NAMD as the primary liaison area between the Ministry and Committee. Administrative support for the Committee will include drafting of meeting minutes, preparation of meeting materials and agendas, and maintaining all records relevant to the Committee. Within PPB, core secretariat support includes a program manager and program consultant staff services. In addition, access to research analyst, health economist and epidemiologist staff resources will help fulfill the Committee’s role.

Decision Making Process

Decisions of the Committee with regard to the General Evaluation Stream will, as much as possible, be made by consensus. If consensus is not possible, a simple majority of members present will suffice, in which case the vote shall be recorded and significant objections noted.

Decisions pertaining to the Exceptional Access Stream do not have to be made by consensus as individual Committee Members may be asked to review these test applications independently.

Sub-Committees

Additional working groups, consisting of Committee members, may be struck as needed by the Committee to address specific issues, upon approval by the Ministry.

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