Minister Hoskins' Letter to Medical Officers of Health on Reporting Requirements
October 4, 2014
Dear Board Chairs and Medical Officers of Health:
As Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, my responsibility is to ensure that all Ontarians have access to information that is relevant, timely, useful and accurate -- information that evokes public confidence and enhances the public's ability to make informed decisions about their health care.
To deliver on my commitment to providing Ontarians with the care they need, I am asking you to share more information to help make the public health sector more transparent. I am asking all Boards of Health and Medical Officers of Health to work with the Ministry to improve how we disclose information to the public. Together, we will make reporting practices more transparent.
Specifically, I am requesting that each Board of Health and Medical Officer of Health make transparency a priority objective in all of your reporting practices by:
- Making transparency a priority objective in each of your business plans, if it is not yet a stated priority. This is crucial because it places transparency at the heart of what you do, and will ensure it remains a priority in the future.
- Publicly disclosing more detailed information with respect to non-routine infection prevention and control lapse investigations that come to your attention either through a complaint or identification through routine surveillance.
- Taking concrete steps towards developing and establishing new reporting practices to make information readily available to the public.
The Ministry will be consulting with a number of Public Health Units shortly to determine feasibility and standard criteria for public reporting. I appreciate that it may take time for Public Health Units and their Boards to adjust their processes and procedures to disclose more information about their Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) investigations. Making more detailed, timely, accurate and clear information relating to investigation reports publicly available is important to maintaining confidence in Ontario's public health sector.
Medical Officers of Health
Therefore, I ask that Public Health Units and their Boards report back to my ministry by December 1, 2014, on the specific steps they will need to take to make this possible. A letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Health will follow providing more details on the report back requirements.
Your transparency initiatives should include:
- How you will strengthen existing measures that your Public Health Unit has in place to enhance transparency.
- New measures that your ublic ealth nit ill develop and implement to increase transparency.
My hope is that we can continue to work collaboratively to implement this important transparency initiative.
However, my ultimate responsibility as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care is to the people of Ontario. Therefore, I will be amending the Ontario Public Health Standards to make public reporting a mandatory part of the transparency process.
I am confident that all Boards of Health will undertake these necessary initiatives to improve transparency in a ay that serves and honours the public's right to information that informs their health care decisions. I hope you will join me to ensure that public confidence in Ontario's public health sector is maintained. It is our collective duty.
Dr. Eric Hoskins