Continuity of Care policies
made to the approved policies as a result of the
consultation. The list is not exhaustive and
physicians are advised to go online to read all
of the expectations.
The revised Availability and Coverage policy
retains the spirit and intention of the draft pol-
icy but has been updated to ensure the policy
better reflects the realities of practice while still
setting an appropriate minimum standard.
Phone and voicemail
The policy requires physicians to have an office
phone that is answered and/or allows voice
mails to be left during regular office hours.
In response to feedback regarding the risks
and potential burden associated with requir-
ing physicians to allow voicemail messages to
be left outside of operating hours, the revised
policy has been narrowed to only require their
use during business hours.
The draft policy included a requirement that
physicians have a plan in place to coordinate
patient care after-hours in order to minimize
unnecessary visits to walk-in clinics or the ER.
In response to feedback that this would unduly
burden individual physicians and would be
akin to requiring continuous access to care,
the expectation has been revised to focus on
informing patients about when and where to
access appropriate care outside office hours.
Temporary Absences from Practice
The draft policy requirement that physicians
make coverage arrangements for patient care
during temporary absences has been refined
to require physicians to take “reasonable steps”
(what is reasonable depends on a variety of
factors) to make coverage arrangements and
to notify patients of appropriate access points
to care if no arrangements can be made. This
change was made in response to feedback that
there are some instances where it simply will
not be possible to arrange coverage.
Coverage for Critical Test Results
Physicians must ensure that critical test results
can be received and reviewed at all times,
including outside of regular office hours and
during temporary absences from practice. The
expectation was updated to clarify that the
expectation only applies to critical test results
and that the intent is to enable appropriate
communication to the patient when immedi-
ate emergency intervention is needed; not to
provide patient care directly.
The Managing Tests policy was revised to bet-
ter focus on the most essential elements of test
‘No News is Good News’
Recognizing the need to strike a balance be-
tween practice management issues and patient
access to their test results, use of “No News is
Good News” practices has been retained in the
ISSUE 3, 2019 DIALOGUE