OTA: College of Physicians and Surgeons Update Policy on Treating Essential Workers

After bringing to light the issue of truck drivers being refused visitation by some medical practitioners due to COVID-19 concerns, the Ontario Trucking Association has received a letter from the College of Physicians of Ontario (CPSO) stating the College has reviewed its policy on servicing truck driver patients who are essential workers and cross the border. 

OTA received reports that various health related professionals were declining essential workers who crossed the Canada-US border unless they first quarantined for 14 days. OTA contacted the oversight organizations of these health-related sectors to request a review of this policy so that cross-border truck drivers who have not tested positive for COVID-19 and who are not experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms can receive the same medical service all Ontarians could expect. 

The following is the new policy issued by CPSO to their members:

“You may have some patients who are essential workers that are required to regularly travel across the US-Canada border as a part of their job…Recognizing that these individuals have been deemed essential workers and exempted from the quarantine and isolation rules set out by the federal government, the College is supportive of physicians exercising their clinical judgment regarding how to best care for these patients when they screen positive solely because of work related travel. An immediate deferral of in-person care or redirection to another facility is not necessary in these instances provided appropriate safety precautions can be met. If there is no opportunity to see a patient following a 14-day window without travel across the border or a negative COVID-19 test, physicians can arrange to see the patient for any in-person care if they can satisfy the recommended precautions to do so safely (i.e., immediately isolating the individual upon arrival, use of appropriate PPE).”

OTA welcomed the news. 

“The trucking industry would like to thank CPSO for intervening in this matter,” said OTA’s Director Policy Lak Shoan. “This policy should ensure that all cross-border truck drivers receive the same medical attention as all other essential workers and Ontarians.”  

Members who have asymptomatic cross-border drivers, that are are still being told to quarantine 14 days before being allowed to make an appointment, should contact OTA. Staff will also be following up with CPSO’s equivalents in the dental, massage therapy and chiropractic fields to check on the status of their own policy reviews. 

OTA members interested in having a copy of the CPSO letter to provide to their drivers should they experience a clarity issue with their physician regarding the above CPSO policy should e-mail lak.shoan@ontruck.org

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