Toronto — Following months of collaboration and productive discussions, the Appropriateness Working Group (AWG) has submitted its first 11 recommended updates to tests and procedures that can be replaced with more modern and effective approaches. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, has accepted these recommendations on behalf of the government. These recommendations were also accepted by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).
The working group, which was established as part of Arbitrator Kaplan’s award in February 2019 between the Government of Ontario and the OMA, is a physician-led group that is using the best available evidence to improve the quality of patient care and reduce medically unnecessary services. These include initiatives such as eliminating medically duplicative, outdated or unnecessary tests. In doing so, the AWG’s recommendations will work to ensure better use of health care resources, as well as the anticipated outcome of shorter wait times.
“Effective testing and treatment evolve as technology and knowledge improve,” said Dr. Joshua Tepper, one of the Co-Chairs of the AWG, and a family physician by training. “In fact, this is nothing new. We have worked with the OMA on past physician services agreements and I am pleased with the work we have done on this current agreement to ensure Ontarians have access to the most modern and effective tests and services.”
The working group has reviewed several of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) – insured services using expert evidence that reflects current standards and best practices to update and provide the most appropriate care for patients.
“The priority of Ontario’s doctors is the health and well-being of every resident in the province,” said Dr. Paul Tenenbein, also Co-Chair of the AWG. “We are at the frontline of the health care system, caring for more than 300,000 patients every day. The OMA is committed to working with the Government of Ontario to improve care for all patients. This working group was developed to improve the quality of the health care system by eliminating outdated or unnecessary care for patients in Ontario and we believe our work does just that.”
Together the ministry and the OMA are focused on delivering high-quality, patient-centred publicly funded health care that is sustainable.
- The ministry has been working with the OMA to achieve a new physician services agreement under a binding arbitration framework.
- There are over 30,000 doctors caring for more than 300,000 patients in Ontario every day.