Government & policy
Ontario demands hospital ‘quality
TORONTO – The
government of Ontario has introduced legislation that’s designed to make
hospitals and their executives accountable for improving patient
care. The Excellent Care for All Act, which was introduced in the
legislature earlier this month, will require the following:
• Annual quality improvement plans, where each hospital would be
required to create and publicly post a plan
• Quality committees, which would report to the hospital board of
directors on quality-related issues
• Executive compensation that is linked to achieving improvements set
out in the annual quality improvement plan
• Patient relations process to address patient, client and caregiver
• Patient/client/caregiver surveys to assess satisfaction with services
• Staff surveys to assess satisfaction with employment experience and
views about the quality of care provided by the healthcare organization
• Declarations of values that would be developed by healthcare
organizations after public consultation.
Critical incident reporting would also be strengthened through
regulatory amendments by requiring critical incidents in hospitals to be
reported to the Medical Advisory Committee and the hospital
administrator, in addition to the affected patient. Action plans would
be required for every critical incident.
Regulations would require that the Medical Advisory Committee report, at
least annually, a summary of all critical incidents to the quality
committee. Regulations would also require the Medical Advisory Committee
report to the quality committee regarding clinical and general rules
respecting regulated health professionals.
The following persons would not be allowed to be voting members of
hospital boards: any member of the medical staff, dental staff, nursing
or midwifery staff of the hospital, and any employee of the hospital.
The Excellent Care for All Act would also expand the mandate of the
Ontario Health Quality Council (OHQC) to promote evidence-based care in
the healthcare system.
The current OHQC mandate is to:
• Monitor and report to Ontarians on access to publicly funded health
services, health human resources in publicly funded health services,
consumer and population health status, and health system outcomes
• Support continuous quality improvement.
The proposed legislation would expand the OHQC’s mandate to include:
• Providing recommendations to the health system on clinical practice
guidelines and protocols
• Providing recommendations, in consultation with the public, to the
Minister concerning the Government of Ontario’s provision of funding for
healthcare services and medical devices
In a related initiative, the ministry will also be developing a plan to
strengthen the public reporting of quality indicators.
“The government is improving the quality of our healthcare system while
making it more accountable to patients,” said Deb Matthews (pictured
above), Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “We want our
healthcare system to be focused on patient needs with health services
supported by the best evidence and highest standards. Improving quality
of care not only means better patient care, it improves the value of our
The Ontario government announced in its budget earlier this year that is
would be taking steps to overhaul the healthcare system, partly because
it believes the system can’t be financially sustained over the long run.
It is now taking steps it says will control the expansion in costs and
In a press release, the government said that:
• 20 years ago, 32 cents of every dollar spent on government programs
were spent on healthcare. Today, it is 46 cents. In 12 years, it could
be 70 cents if appropriate action is not taken.
• Last year, there were 140,000 cases of patients readmitted to hospital
within 30 days of original discharge.
Posted May 20, 2010