Over the past two days the College has received many questions seeking advice on what to do with their practice during these difficult times. The College has been in contact with the Ministry of Health regarding specific guidance for the profession; however, as the situation is changing rapidly, I feel it is necessary to provide an update on the College’s position.
Suspension of Non-Essential Services
While the College will remain in contact with the Ministry, I am recommending that members suspend all non-essential services effective immediately. Acute and emergency services can continue if necessary; however, it is expected that members use their professional judgement in determining when a patient falls into these categories. The Federal, Provincial, and many local governments are imploring the public to remain home and practise social distancing. Members should not encourage their patients to disregard this unless it is medically necessary.
If you believe it is in the patient’s best interest to receive treatment at this time, you are expected to follow procedures on screening patients for COVID-19 and the infection control standard. This information can be found on our website. Please ensure that you properly record all necessary information in the patient chart to demonstrate why the patient needed treatment during this period of time.
Extension of Renewal Payment Deadline
I understand that this is a difficult time for many members, because providing quality healthcare to your patients is also the means in which you financially provide for yourself and your family. As such I have taken time to reflect on the upcoming April 1 renewal deadline. Members are still required to complete the online renewal form before the April 1 deadline (and failing to do so could result in suspension or additional fees). However, the College will allow members until June 1, 2020 to submit their renewal payment. Renewal fees received between April 1 and June 1 will not be subject to late fees.
To members who have already submitted the renewal fee or still plan to submit it by April 1: I thank you. Your diligence has allowed the College to provide an extension to members facing financial difficulty, while continuing to carry out our mandate of protecting the public.
Suspension of Practice Assessments
Finally, I would like to remind all members that the College has moved to a work from home environment. As such, we will not be conducting in person meetings and practice assessments have been paused pending a consideration of how or if they may be conducted virtually.
I thank you again for what you are doing and continue to do to make and keep your patients and Ontarians all well. The College will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on its website. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Take care of yourself and each other. We will get through this together.
Registrar and CEO