Specialist and GP focused practice consultations
As of Dec. 1, 2022, specialists and GP focused practice physicians who have been practicing both under the Ontario Virtual Care Program “OTN model” and via other platforms will continue to be able to provide virtual care to their patients without an in-person visit every 24 months, provided a new consultation is rendered. This consultation, which can be provided virtually (by video), will grant access to comprehensive virtual care codes for another 24 months. The OHIP Schedule of Benefits commentary will be amended to clarify that specialists and GP focused practice physicians may request a new referral for ongoing management of the patient to maintain an ongoing physician relationship.
The prospect of a requirement that patients see a specialist or GP in person once every 24 months to be able to continue to receive virtual care had been the source of significant concern. If this had not been resolved, it would have created significant barriers to access, including for Indigenous people and people with disabilities, and in rural and remote areas, where patients experience difficulty attending in-person visits.
We recognize that the need to request a referral to maintain the comprehensive virtual relationship is not ideal for members because of the added administrative burden for both the referring and consulting physician. However, the MOH was steadfast in its position and not open to the solutions proposed by the OMA.
The OMA is preparing an update to assist members in managing this referral requirement most efficiently in order to minimize any undue administrative burden. I want to thank all members impacted for your patience and understanding on behalf of our patients and with colleagues as we transition to this new process
November 10, 2022 by Cathy Mastrogiacomo