New Care Act Cuts Medical Paperwork
The Patient Access to Care Act, introduced today in the Legislature, is intended to reduce administrative burdens on healthcare providers, giving them more time to see patients.
Nova Scotia’s physicians say their paperwork has become a burden and a barrier to providing more patient care.
Premier Tim Houston says, “If we continue to do things the same way, we are going to keep getting the same results. That is unacceptable for Nova Scotia, and that is unacceptable to me.”
The proposed act includes measures to reduce paperwork and make it easier for healthcare professionals from other parts of Canada to work in Nova Scotia.
Highlights of the act include:
- licensing or registration criteria will be waived for healthcare providers coming from other parts of Canada, as needed and in accordance with Canadian free trade obligations
- regulators cannot charge healthcare professionals licensed in other parts of Canada an application fee
- applications must be processed within five business days
- supports the creation of regulations that will apply the above provisions to non-Canadian jurisdictions
- allows all regulators to recognize the credentials and licences of healthcare professionals trained outside Canada
- ensures regulated healthcare professionals can work to their full training and allows expanded scope of practice through regulations rather than legislation
- employers will only be able to request a sick note if an employee is absent for more than five days or has already had two absences of five days or less in the previous 12-month period
- allows the government to prescribe Workers Compensation Board forms and documents to improve the process for Nova Scotians and doctors.
Many businesses expect doctors to issue notes to explain an employee absence from work. Doctors completed more than 26,000 report forms for worker's compensation last year alone.
The Minister of Health says, “Paperwork shouldn't stand in the way of helping Nova Scotians get the care they need.” Michelle Thompson added, “When someone is sick, the last thing they should be thinking about is that they need to get a doctor's note. It's also the last thing a doctor needs to write, when they could be seeing a patient with more urgent care needs.”
The Minister of Labour, Jill Balser says, “This new legislation will enable us to bring qualified healthcare professionals here sooner and remove unnecessary administrative paperwork so doctors and other health professionals can focus more on patient care.”
Nova Scotia will cover the initial licensing fees for healthcare professionals who already hold a licence to practise in another part of Canada. Licensing fees for Nova Scotia healthcare professionals range from $1,000 to $2,000, and application fees can be up to $200 per year.
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