Bill 7 - "More Beds, Better Care Act" receives Royal Assent
On August 31, 2022, Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act, which amends the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 to add a new provision for patients who occupy a bed in a public hospital and are designated by an attending clinician as requiring an alternate level of care (ALC), received royal assent. This means the Bill is at the last stage in the process to becoming a law. The new provision authorizes certain actions to be carried out without consent from patients. These actions include having a placement coordinator:
- determine the patient’s eligibility for a long-term care home,
- select the long-term care home, and
- authorize the patient's admission to the home.
Certain persons can conduct assessments for the purpose of determining a patient’s eligibility, admitting the patient to the home when certain conditions have been met and collecting, using and disclosing personal health information (PHI), if it is necessary to carry out these actions without consent.
Implications for Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists (OTs) act as care coordinators and may be involved in the above tasks. The College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) Standards for Consent, require OTs to obtain consent for assessment and as such how do occupational therapist navigate these different requirements?
The introduction of COTO’s Standards for Consent states:
"Expectations regarding consent may vary according to practice setting, area of practice and client population. Additional legislation, such as the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, the Mental Health Act, 1990 and the Insurance Act, 1990 may apply. In some circumstances OTs may be accountable to additional regulators, for example, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, and need to consider other consent legislation. It is the responsibility of the OT to determine the legislative, regulatory, and organizational requirements relevant to obtaining consent in the context of their practice setting". [emphasis added]
As Bill 7 is new legislation, it must also be included in your consideration for practice. You are required to follow the laws (legislation) that govern consent and when legislation changes, practice will need to change accordingly.
Bill 7 refers to specific tasks relating to discharge planning and sharing of PHI with ALCs. Tasks performed as part of your services that are not included in Bill 7 still require following COTO’s Standards, the Health Care Consent Act, and Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) requirements.
You are encouraged to seek support from your interprofessional team, lawyer, or others as you navigate this new legislation.
Contact COTO's or OSOT's practice support with questions.