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MPP Dombrowsky’s reply to Hospital Secrecy Clause

I recently wrote in my blog “The Renoy Report” (McGuinty MPPs Pass Hospital Secrecy Clause) that on May 5 six McGuinty MPPs voted to pass a loophole (Bill 173, Schedule 15) which allows CEOs of hospitals to deny requests for public access to an array of information regarding quality of healthcare in hospitals. On May 20 I received  an email from MPP Leona Dombrowsky  explaining the McGuinty government’s position on  the amendment (dubbed “the Secret Clause by the Ontario Health Coalition and numerous other organizations). As we like to be fair, in “The Renoy Report” I have included Ms. Dombrowsky’s email to me. As a taxpayer/stakeholder I invite you to form your own opinion.

On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 2:45 PM, Dombrowsky_Leona-MPP-CO <> wrote:

Dear Ms. Renoy,

I appreciate you taking the time to inform me of your views with regard to the Freedom of Information Amendment passed as part of the Excellent Care for All Act. A key element of this legislation was the focusing on quality improvement in every hospital. Hospitals will continue to publicly report on eight key patient safety indicators. Hospitals must also post and publically report their Quality Improvement Plans, including patient satisfaction scores and percentage of executive compensation tied to quality improvement plans.

Certain detailed personal patient or provider information may be exempt, as was requested by the Ontario Hospital Association and the Ontario Medical Association. However, Ontarians can appeal any exemption to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC). The IPC can overturn a hospital decision if it is deemed in the public interest. Also, this amendment would not affect a person’s right to access their own health records as those rights are set out in the Personal Health Information Act.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Leona Dombrowsky, MPP

Leona Dombrowsky, MPP
Prince Edward – Hastings
P.O. Box 575
Belleville, ON K8N 5B2
Phone: 613-962-1144
Toll Free: 1-877-536-6248
Fax: 613-969-6381

From: Fran Renoy
Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2011 8:07 PM
Subject: McGuinty MPPs Pass Hospital Secrecy Clause

On May 5 six McGuinty government MPPs voted to pass the “Hospital Secrecy Clause”. The “Clause” (Bill 173, Schedule 15) a loophole which will allow hospital CEOs to deny requests for public access to an array of information regarding quality of healthcare in hospitals, was slipped into the government’s Budget Bill after lobbying of the government by the Ontario Hospital Association and insurance companies. The “Clause” has nothing to do with the budget. The “Clause” has prompted a flurry of opposition from groups in addition to the Ontario Health Coalition, including the Ontario Nurses Association, health care unions such as CUPE, CAW, SEIU and OPSEIU, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and concerned citizens.

Both NDP and Conservative MPPs on the Finance Committee voted against the “Hospital Secrecy Clause”, but were outnumbered by the Liberal MPPs. In the next step, the Budget Bill, including the “Hospital Secrecy Clause”, will go to the legislature where the government will use its majority to pass it into law. It would certainly be interesting to know how local MPPs Leona Dombrosky and Lou Rinaldi will vote on this Bill (173).

The public, patients, media and others will no longer will no longer be able to access an array of quality of care information if the CEO claims that the hospital intended the information to be confidential. Patients and those seeking information will be forced to go through a lengthy and complex appeals process. With the passing of this secrecy clause the McGuinty government undid a substantial portion of its own legislation passed last fall to expand hospital accountability in the wake of the e-health scandal.

On a local level Ontario’s Ministry of Health has given $1.2 million to Quinte Health Care to improve emergency wait times across the corporation. Trenton Memorial will receive $621,700, with Belleville receiving $574,500. This is certainly very good news for the stakeholders living in Belleville and Quinte West. Even though Bancroft and PECMH did not receive any funding their staff will receive training. Presently a number of patients from Belleville and Trenton frequent PECMH’s emergency dept. as they have found that the waiting times are much shorter.

The staff at PECMH should not be discouraged by the lack of funding at their hospital. They only need to remember that in 2005 at the Crystal Palace the then Liberal Minister of Health, George Smitherman stated that PECMH had “A VERY BRIGHT FUTURE”. The only problem is we’re not sure which side of his mouth George was speaking out of that day.

Fran Renoy

Filed Under: Uncategorized

About the Author: Fran Renoy has lived in the County for forty years so considers herself almost a native. Both she and her husband Bill consider themselves very fortunate to live in beautiful Prince Edward County. She worked at PECM hospital for thirty years as a x-ray technologist,retiring in 1998.She has a very strong passion for her local hospital and encourages others to speak up and not be afraid to do so if they feel that services are being eroded.

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  1. Lori Smith says:

    Either Leona didn’t read it, doesn’t understand it, or else is just towing the party line…

    The amendment to Bill 173 subsection 18(1) of FIPAA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) was to exempt the following information from disclosure: <> That does not appear to be a reference to “detailed personal patient or provider information” as Leona stated.

    Disclosure of personal health information is governed by the Personal Health Information and Protection Act so that the privacy and security of health information of patients was not at risk. In addition, the Quality of Care Protection Information Act, has
    existing protections that limit the disclosure of detailed patient or provider information.

  2. Killashandra Ree says:

    Doris, you are so right. McGuinty used the same method to sneak the extra police powers into legislation for the G20 summit in Toronto. Similar to what they did with the GEA, under the auspices of creating “green” legislation, they usurped municipalities’ ability to govern their own communities.

    Leona, is not representing the best interests of the citizens in her constituency, only those of her boss, McGuinty.

    Come October, we need to vote for someone to represent the people of Prince Edward County at Queens Park, someone who will fight for their constituents, not against their best interests. Someone who will listen and talk to people.

    Leona avoids issues and rarely replies to emails, other than a standard “your email has been received and forwarded tot he appropriate department”. I have spoken to many people who have been very frustrated in her non-replies to their inquiries. One gentleman who managed to get face time, was then shocked to have her proceed to chastise him, for not having prepared her, for their meeting – as if it was his fault!

    Come October the voters will let her know they do not appreciate being ignored or fed nonsense such as the reply she sent to Fran.

  3. Doris Lane says:

    WEll Fran at least you got a reply from Leona that is more than a lot of people get.
    Slipping things into a budget that do not belong there is an old political trick
    Maybe after the next election in October, Leona will have been taken down a notch.

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