Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 3 2017 - Page 26

LEGISLATION The word “patient” – in relation to an act of sexual abuse – is defined to include any individual who was a member’s patient within one year from the date on which the individual ceased to be the member’s patient. extending the one-year period. In addition, the Minister will have the power to make a regulation establishing criteria to be used to determine whether an individual was a member’s patient in relation to any allegation of sexual abuse. The College’s position – articulated in our Maintain- ing Appropriate Boundaries and Preventing Sexual Abuse policy – is that circumstances exist where a sexual relationship with a former patient any time after termination is never appropriate. This includes physi- cian-patient relationships that had included psychiatric care, recurrent psychotherapy and/or counselling, or any similar treatment. Patient Relations Program The RHPA requires all colleges to have a patient rela- tions program that includes measures for preventing and dealing with sexual abuse of patients by members, including a fund for therapy and counselling. The Patient Relations Committee (PRC) administers the fund for therapy and counselling for persons who, while patients, were sexually abused by members by: deter- mining eligibility for funding; and dispersing funds to eligible applicants’ therapists. Once the provisions are in effect, there will be a new route of eligibility for funding in addition to the exist- ing ways in which a patient can be eligible for funding under our current criteria. Patients will be eligible for funding if they make a complaint or are named in a mandatory report alleging sexual abuse by a member. There is also a new regulation-making authority for the Minister. This authority would enable the Minister to expand the types of expenses that can be funded. Pre- viously, funding could only be used to cover the costs of therapy or counselling. The Minister will likely enable 26 DIALOGUE ISSUE 3, 2017 funding to be used for related expenses such as costs of medication, or child care should that be required for the individual to access therapy. Expanded Duty to Report There are also provisions, when enacted, that will in- crease the amount of information that regulated health professionals must provide to their colleges. Physicians have already been required for several years to provide most of this information to the College under the Col- lege bylaw and through the requirement to complete the College’s annual renewal form. When the these amendments come into force, regulated health-care professionals will be required to report to the Registrar if they belong to other regu- lated professional bodies – inside and outside of On- tario. They will also be required to report any findings of professional misconduct or incompetence made against them by another professional body as soon as reasonably practicable. The report would be required to contain information regarding the status of any ap- peal of the finding. The provisions will also require regulated health- care professionals to report to the Registrar if they are charged with an offence as soon as reasonably practica- ble after the professional has been charged. Further, the regulated health professional will be required to provide information about any bail conditions. The report will be required to contain certain details, including infor- mation regarding the status of any proceedings with respect to the charge. We will keep the profession up to date on this issue and provide more information as the amendments are enacted. MD