For more than 20 years, the OAC has been working to improve cardiac patient care. In 1995, the OAC was the first professional organization in the province to create and publish standards for the performance of echocardiography services. These standards were ignored until 2009 when a working group came together to update and release them three years later under the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario (now known as CorHealth Ontario). OAC members were actively involved in developing these standards (for more information, see Standards for the Provision of Echocardiography in Ontario 2015). A key hallmark of this document is the inclusion of “appropriateness guidelines”.
A turning point for the OAC came in the spring of 2012, when the Ontario government enacted a regulation that, if implemented, would have led to the closure of half of the non-invasive cardiac testing facilities in the province. This would have seriously jeopardized patient access to cardiac care and destroyed the infrastructure for non-invasive testing that the provincial government and cardiologists had worked on together to implement since the mid-1990s.
The OAC exerted a major impact on Ontario’s political and health care landscape during this time, as cardiologists and their patients, community leaders, and members of the general public came together under an integrated advocacy program to convince government to withdraw its regulation and implement a new policy based on appropriateness standards.
For more than 20 years, the OAC has been working to improve cardiac patient care
Since 2012, the OAC has continued to advocate strongly on behalf of its members for Ontario government policies and funding that support the delivery of high quality cardiac patient care throughout the province. Some examples of the Association’s activities include:
Work collaboratively with CorHealth Ontario on the evolving Echocardiography Quality Improvement (EQI) program.
Participate in expert cardiac services and technology consultations led by various government agencies such as Health Quality Ontario.
Support the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign, introduced in April 2014, which aims to help physicians and patients engage in conversations to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures.
Make presentations and submit written proposals for improving cardiac care service delivery in the province during the annual pre-budget consultations held by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs and the Minister of Finance.
Hold regular meetings with political representatives and government officials to inform them of the OAC’s public policy priorities.
Wrote to the Auditor-General of Ontario (AG) to ask for an investigation into the potential misspending of public resources under OHIP. The AG stated that our concerns were legitimate and directed the government to work with us to address them.
Authored a proposal to improve the quality and efficiency of congestive heart failure patient care in the community after discharge from hospital.
Collaborated with OntarioMD to develop a Cardiology specification for Ontario electronic medical record (EMR) vendors to include in their offerings.
At the same time, given that all the OAC members are part of the Ontario Medical Association, we advocate for an OMA that is transparent, accountable, and responsive to all grassroots members. We also seek fair treatment and respect for minority sections, such as Cardiology, within its decion-making processes and structures.