Concerns about the province’s decision to accelerate the pace of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) medical reviews led to a welcome change of direction by the Ontario government this week. While the government originally planned to begin to clear a backlog of more than 60,000 medical reviews on April 1, 2015, a spokeswoman for the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, told the Toronto Star this week that “the Ministry wants to take the time to get the process right.” Although the Ministry still remains committed to eliminating the backlog of medical reviews, the comment shows a desire on the part of government to work with ODSP recipients, service providers and community stakeholders to improve what is currently an extremely cumbersome and time-consuming process, both for the recipient as well for the service providers. According to stakeholders, the biggest problem with the current process is the completion of a very detailed, 21-page review form by doctors and other health care providers, which is exactly the same process that was required when the an individual first applied for benefits under ODSP.
As nearly half of all ODSP recipients have a mental health issue, receiving notice of medical review could be disruptive to their recovery.
Health care providers also pointed out that filling out the lengthy medical forms puts pressure on an already time-pressed medical and legal clinic system.
The review process puts undue stress on the mental health of vulnerable people and seriously compromises their recovery. “The current medical review process is difficult for both for service providers and clients to navigate,” Camille Quenneville, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario told the Toronto Star. “As nearly half of all ODSP recipients have a mental health issue, receiving notice of medical review could be disruptive to their recovery. Improving the process would be of benefit for both service providers and clients alike.”
For more information on ODSP medical reviews, read full Toronto Star article.