The Health Sector Payment Transparency Act, 2017 (“HSPTA”) is new legislation intended to strengthen transparency surrounding the financial relationships that exist within Ontario’s health care system and increase public trust and confidence. The HSPTA received Royal Assent on December 12, 2017 as part of the Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act, 2017, however it is not yet in force. Given the upcoming provincial election, the current government has advised that the final regulations will be revisited during the fall of 2018.
Under the HSPTA, any transfer of value provided directly or indirectly by a payor to a recipient must be reported to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care unless the transfer is exempt by the regulations or due to a low dollar amount.
WHO IS A “PAYOR”?
A “payor” is defined as any person who provides a transfer of value to a recipient and is:
- A manufacturer selling a medical product (drug, device, or any other prescribed product) whether under its own name or a name or mark that is owned or controlled by it;
- A person who fabricates, produces, processes, assembles, packages, or labels a medical product on behalf of a manufacturer;
- A wholesaler, distributor, importer, or broker of a medical product;
- A marketing firm or person who markets or promotes a medical product;
- A person who organizes continuing education on behalf of a manufacturer; or
- A person otherwise prescribed in regulation
WHAT INFORMATION AM I REQUIRED TO PROVIDE?
The HSPTA outlines that the payor is required to include, as part of its reporting obligations, the name of the parties to the transaction including any legal and operating names, individual’s name, profession or title, business addresses, date of the transfer of value, exact or approximate dollar value, and description of the transfer of value including the reasons for it.
ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS?
The Ministry is proposing to prescribe the following exemptions under which payors would not be required to report a transaction:
- Transactions that have a dollar value of less than$10;
- Salary and benefits provided as part of employment;
- Medical products intended to be provided to patients free of charge;
- Educational materials and items intended for use within a clinical setting;
- Compensation for expert testimony or other services with respect to a legal proceeding;
- Benefits provided by a drug manufacturer in accordance with ordinary commercial terms as set out in the regulations under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act.
HOW WILL THE HSPTA BE ENFORCED?
The Act provides for enforcement and offences including considerable inspection powers that would allow inspectors to enter premises without a warrant at any reasonable time should they believe that a record relating to a transaction may be located there to determine compliance. Penalties for violations of the HSPTA include:
- An individual’s first offence: a fine not exceeding$10,000/day;
- An individual’s subsequent offence: a fine not exceeding $25,000/day;
- A corporation’s first offence: a fine not exceeding$50,000/day; and
- A corporation’s subsequent offence: a fine not exceeding $100,000/day.