Regulatory Changes for Out-of-Hospital Clinics

clinic surgeryOntario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced yesterday that the Ontario Government will make major regulatory changes to increase accountability, regulation, quality and safety in out-of-hospital medical clinics in Ontario.

As more patients seek care outside of hospitals, Hoskins noted that it is also important that oversight and regulation of these out-of-hospital locations increase as well to ensure patient safety. The long-awaited report and recommendations include:

  • Developing a single oversight system for all clinics, including out-of-hospital and independent health facilities
  • Establishing an independent executive officer to provide oversight of the sector
  • Requiring clinics pass inspections, from which plain-language reports would be posted in waiting rooms and online

This will involve a significant overhaul of the existing legislative regime and implementation of a new oversight body. Click here to learn more about the changes.

The changes are a direct result of media coverage of a class action lawsuit filed against Rothbart Center for Pain Care by our good friend, medical malpractice lawyer Paul Harte. Harte represents a number of plaintiffs, including the lead plaintiff in the case, who were severely infected by anesthesiologist Dr. Stephen James during medical procedures at the clinic.

The lawsuit alleges that the clinic, its medical director and Dr. James failed to maintain adequate infection control procedures and hid important information from the patients, including the fact that the clinic was the source of their infections. Many of the victims suffered permanent nerve damage and are now unable to walk without the help of a cane. Click here to learn more about the case.

We commend Harte for his courage to take on these cases and prosecute this wrongdoing in civil court. As a result of these changes, Ontario patients seeking care in these out-of-hospital clinics will be safer.

Congratulations Paul!