(NC) To provide the best medical attention, health care professionals gather key information about their patients and clients. You can do this too, about them. Information is readily available so that the public can make more informed choices about the care they seek. Such details are available through Ontario’s health regulatory colleges.
“It’s in the public interest to be transparent, which includes sharing as much information as possible on the province’s health care professionals,” says Marshall Moleschi, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO).
FHRCO includes 23 colleges, which set requirements for entering the professions; administer programs to ensure professionals maintain their knowledge and skills; and hold these professionals accountable for their conduct and practice.
Together, the colleges oversee nearly 300,000 Ontario health care professionals. The colleges maintain the profiles of members on what’s called a public register. It’s available on a college website, sometimes housed under “find a …” or “search for …”. By looking up a name, you can:
• Confirm if they’re permitted to practice. Registration means the professional has met and upholds the qualifications to practice in Ontario. Only college members can legally use titles like “doctor”, “nurse”, or “physiotherapist”. If someone isn’t listed, perhaps they practiced elsewhere but aren’t registered in Ontario or their registration in the province may have lapsed. In either case, they can’t practice here. In rare cases, there are imposters – people holding themselves up as a regulated professional without the required qualifications.
• Get basic contact information, and look up (at some colleges) professional credentials, special designations, and languages spoken.
• Discover any restrictions around how a health care professional can practice (called “terms, conditions or limitations”), due to a disciplinary hearing or other reason.
• Learn about upcoming disciplinary proceedings or the outcomes of a hearing.
The scope of the public register keeps expanding. In the interests of openness, the colleges are exploring ways to add even more details regarding the conduct of their professionals (like certain outcomes of complaints). For more about this and other transparency efforts (easy-to-find and easy-to-understand information about college decisions, processes and professionals) check the website of any college.
If you can’t find the name of your health care professional, contact their regulatory college. There are links to all colleges through www.regulatedhealthprofessions.on.ca. You can also call a college to get the information on the public register, or raise any concerns about your care.
“The public has a right to information on the background and conduct of the people providing medical attention,” Moleschi points out. “By making that available, the colleges help you to be more knowledgeable when accessing health care.”
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