Health Minister Deb Matthews has introduced a new bill on health quality that ties executive salaries to performance, establishes provider quality committees, and amends the province-wide Ontario Health Quality Council. The question is, will it make any difference?
Bill 46 – better known by its cheerful moniker, the “Excellent Care for All Act” was read into the legislature May 3rd.
While intended to show government resolve to curb excessive executive salaries within the health system, the legislation provides little detail that would lead anyone to believe that it will be anything but business as usual.
What the bill doesn’t do is prescribe how executive compensation will take place beyond requiring hospitals to base bonuses on targets set by yet-to-be-defined provider quality committees. If there is an executive presently not on a bonus system, a portion of their salary will now be deemed bonus.
The targets will be reviewed by the Local Health Integration Networks. However, the LHINs have no authority under the Act to alter these targets.
Given there is no detail in the Act on what these targets should be, it is not clear how they will differ from targets already set under the LHIN Accountability Agreements.
The Act also calls on health providers to put in place a patient relations process, reflective of its patient declaration of values. It also calls for patient surveys – a process that it already in place and is reflected on present hospital scorecards.
The Act also brings the Ontario Quality Health Council out of the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act (2004) and makes some changes mostly to scope of the Council, including a new duty to monitor and report on health human resources as well as access to publicly-funded health services.
Bill 46 allows for considerable alteration by regulation, including expanding the reach of the Act to other public health providers.