Health professionals should be mindful that if the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) of their College orders remediation, failing to work with the College and to complete a remediation program is in itself an act of professional misconduct and will result in discipline and a costs award, in addition to a requirement to complete the already ordered remediation.
In a recent matter, the ICRC of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario considered a complaint that the doctor failed to administer his office practice in an appropriate manner by failing to provide a patient’s medical records to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (“WSIB”) when requested by the WSIB and the complainant. The doctor was unable to find the records despite the fact that he is required to maintain an adult patient’s chart for 10 years from the date of the last entry into the record. He delayed telling the complainant and WSIB that he could not find the records. The ICRC noted that the delay could have had a deleterious effect on the patient’s welfare.
The ICRC required the doctor to attend the College to be cautioned and to undertake a specified continuing education and remediation program (a “SCERP”). Part of the SCERP required the doctor to engage a preceptor (a colleague to assist with education) acceptable to the College to provide education and remediation, and to maintain a log of requests for documentation.
The doctor was unsuccessful in having a preceptor approved by the College for many months, as the doctor provided preceptor names which were either unacceptable to the College or who were unwilling to perform the task requested. The doctor’s failure to have the preceptor approved by the deadline imposed by the College resulted in an allegation of misconduct being referred to the Discipline Committee of the College. When a preceptor was finally approved (after allegations of misconduct were referred to discipline), the preceptor provided a report which noted that the doctor failed to maintain a log of requests as required.
Due to the doctor’s failure to complete the SCERP as directed, the Discipline Committee of the College found that the doctor “committed an act of professional misconduct by engaging in conduct or an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all the circumstances would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional”.
The Discipline Committee ordered and directed that the doctor appear before the panel to be reprimanded and to pay costs to the College of $5,000.00.
Any complaint to, and outcome from, a health College must be taken seriously. Failing to work with the College on a SCERP is misconduct in and of itself, and the failure to comply with any order by a College Committee will result in disciplinary action.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding SCERPs or other regulatory matters.
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