HEALTH SECTOR PAYMENT TRANSPARENCY ACT, 2017
The Ontario government has tabled legislation that would make transfer of payments from a manufacturer to a regulated health care professional transparent. There will be a website that will list any payment transfer greater than ten dollars. Click here to read the draft regulation. We at OAPAC all agree that this is a great idea, however, in terms of capturing payments given to those dispensing hearing aids, it has its flaws.
As it is written in it’s current form, the only dispensing clinics that would need to report are those owned by Audiologists. This accounts for less than 10% of dispensing clinics in Ontario. I would say that this is a major flaw, as you are not capturing 90% of dispensing clinics.
Dispensing clinics owned by non-regulated individuals such as hearing instrument specialists, lawyers, bankers, and so on, would not have to report transfer of value. These entities are all unregulated and thus are not captured by this new legislation.
Dispensing clinics owned by Big-Box stores such as Costco, Loblaws, Shoppers Drugmart and/or Rexall would not have to report transfer of value. The owners of Big-Box stores are unregulated and would not be captured by this new legislation.
Dispensing clinics that are owned directly or indirectly by hearing aid manufacturers would not have to show transfer of value. The manufacturers of medical devices are included in the list, but in reality transfers could be internal and no reports would theoretically have to be made.
I have no issue with showing any transfer of value that my clinic receives, however, I believe that ANY clinic that dispenses hearing aids should have to show transfer of value.
How can this be attained?
(1) Any clinic, regulated or non-regulated, who receives funding for hearing aids from the Assistive Devices Program should have to show transfer of value.
(2) Clinics that are owned directly or indirectly by a manufacturer should have to disclose this fact to the public. I once saw a physician whose son owned the pharmacy in the same building as his clinic. He had a sign in every room of his office disclosing this fact. If I go to the Apple Store, I know that it is owned by Apple and that they mainly provide Apple products. If I go to the Sony store, I know that they mainly provide Sony products. If dispensing clinics had to disclose their true ownership to the public, then things would be transparent.
The government is seeking public input; do not hesitate to let them know that EVERYONE should be transparent, otherwise they are wasting our tax dollars and not obtaining accurate information. Visit this link to voice your opinions and concerns.
OAPAC president Hish Husein and vice-president Jeffrey Switzer recently presented some very interesting facts to the government. Please read the transcript of their presentation.
About the Author:
Bernice A. McKenzie has been practicing Audiology for over a decade. She grew up in the little town of Brantford, Ontario before moving to Ottawa to complete her undergraduate degree in Linguistics. She then moved to the Windsor, Ontario to obtain her doctorate. She was part of the first graduating class of Doctors of Audiology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO). She owns clinics in the towns of Amherstburg, Essex and LaSalle. To learn more about her clinics, feel free to visit her website: