Ontario's third-party medical report regulatory policy may influence other health professions: firm

Policy gives expectations for physicians' conduct on independent medical examinations, testimony

Ontario's third-party medical report regulatory policy may influence other health professions: firm

The Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has approved a new policy in June, seeking to lay down its expectations for physicians conducting independent medical examinations and providing third-party medical reports and testimonies.

“As other health Colleges often look to the CPSO for guidance, this new policy will likely be influential throughout the health professions,” said a blog post by Rosen Sunshine LLP, which added that the firm would continue keeping track of such regulatory changes.

The college and its committees will use this policy alongside the applicable practice guide, legislation and case law when considering a physician’s practice or conduct. The policy discusses the definitions of specific terms, the role and obligations of physicians, privacy and consent, fees and the requirements for independent medical examinations, third party medical reports and testimonies.

According to the new policy, physicians are expected to give, concerning their current and former patients, third-party medical reports when requested and testimony when ordered, subject to exceptions. Before accepting an independent medical examination or acting as a medical expert, the college expects physicians to disclose any perceived or potential conflicts of interest to the requesting party and determine that there is no conflict in consultation with the requesting party.

When accepting requests concerning independent medical examinations, third-party medical reports, and testimonies, the college expects physicians to know the requesting party’s identity, understand what is being asked of them, and enter contracts with requesting parties only if such agreements comply with the policy’s expectations.

The college expects physicians to accept a request for an independent medical examination if they have an active certificate of registration, if the matter is within their scope of practice and area of expertise, and if they have the needed knowledge, skill and judgment to do the examination. As for accepting requests to be medical experts, the college expects physicians to do so if the matter is within their scope of practice and area of expertise and if they have the required knowledge, skill and judgment to offer an expert opinion.

The college expects physicians to comprehend and to let subjects know the nature of their role. Their role is to give information or opinions but not determine how such will be used and potentially collect, use, and disclose personal information or personal health information. Physicians may also conduct an independent medical examination for a third-party process, not for health care purposes.

Independent medical examinations, third-party medical reports and testimonies are expected to be comprehensive, relevant, fair, objective, non-partisan, transparent, accurate, clear, timely, and within a physician’s scope of practice and area of expertise.

The college has also released related advice to the profession as a companion resource, which aims to assist physicians in interpreting their obligations under the policy and understanding how they can effectively discharge such obligations.

Rosen Sunshine’s blog post noted that the policy and the companion advice seek to combine the college’s past two policies on medical reports and medical experts, clarify past requirements for physicians engaged in third party processes, and introduce numerous new requirements.

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