Our work with the Ministry of Health over the last several months has been intense and challenging. As you know, rheumatologists along with all other physicians were told to move to virtual care at the start of the pandemic in mid-March. We complied promptly and quickly moved to telephone and video visits. As a group, we arranged for educational sessions to allow us to do this new care delivery in the best way possible, providing our ongoing excellent care, while keeping patients, our staff and ourselves safe. We have purchased protective equipment for our offices and continue to work to minimize risks for infection while taking care of our immunocompromised patients.
Unfortunately, the government of Ontario has not yet agreed to pay the equivalent of E078 on nonOTN video and phone visits. This, despite the fact that many patients cannot access high speed internet and that we are still being told to keep in person appointments to a minimum and to continue virtual care. The ORA has been and continues to work tirelessly on this issue, in discussion with the government as well as the OMA leadership and the other affected sections. Our resolve and that of the OMA has been unwavering.
Biosimilar switching in Ontario
On another government subject, just prior to the start of the pandemic the Ontario government was considering a biosimilar switch policy. This is now apparently on the back burner given the current situation and we will let you know if there are any changes to that.
The EAP digital portal SADIE is now going to allow patient support program employees to submit your EAP requests electronically. This will avoid incomplete or illegible submissions and speed up approvals to days rather than weeks.
ORA members continue to meet with EAP every 3-4 months with our next meeting scheduled for July 10. On the table for discussion are Rituxan biosimilars, maintenance therapy for vasculitis, MTX subcutaneous formulations and treatment for secondary Raynaud’s. If you have any issues you’d like us to bring forward, please email firstname.lastname@example.org