FOI materials reveal Expert Panel had serious concerns about insurance coverage ?gaps? and scope of project

OTLA MPP Advisor

Catastrophic Impairment Review

OTLA obtained information this summer that was not

previously made public by the government or FSCO

concerning the review of catastrophic impairment. We think

it reveals serious concerns by the panel itself:

Imposing restrictions without full scientific review

The FOI materials on the discussions of the Expert Panel reveal

for the first time that Members had serious concerns about

imposing punitive restrictions to the definition of catastrophic

impairment. Further, contrary to what MPPs have been

told, the Expert Panel was frustrated in its efforts to examine

relevant science on catastrophic impairment.

It also becomes clear that the Panel Chair was not willing

to undertake a thorough review of the scientific data. Dr.

Pierre Côté, Chair of the Expert Panel, made this comment:

“How things are done in the field is beyond the scope

of this project.”

He further stated:

“A comprehensive review will take two to three years

at least.  We will be using scientific evidence, but in

terms of doing a full and comprehensive review, it

can’t be done.” (emphasis added)

Potential gap in coverage for accident victims

Expert Panel Members were concerned how potential

changes would impact claimants. Dr. Arthur Ameis said:

“As a definition, it is a financial construct, not a

medical one. What is the line from the government’s

perspective? We need to know that, then we can

make the recommendations.”

Panel Member, Dr. Michel Lacerte, said:

“…That’s what the catastrophic definition is all about.

It is used to determine the maximum payout. If the

claimant does not have the money, they are out of

luck. Ethically, if people fall in the gap or they do not

have a claim, they are out of luck.”

Full financial impact not considered

FSCO official Willie Handler even noted that the cost

implications of the Expert Panel’s work was not to be part

of the discussion. He said:

“Note that cost impact is not part of the discussions for

the panel. It will be a discussion that the government

will be undertaking later.”

Essentially, what these FOI materials reveal is that the Expert

Panel’s recommendations were made within a limited

scope, without the benefit of a comprehensive review or

knowledge of financial implications. And that should be of

concern to all of us!

We think writer Alan Shanoff best summarizes the issue, in

this excerpt from his article in Law Times on Sept. 10, 2012:

“The composition of the expert panel was problematic

at the outset. It made a recommendation

without conducting a comprehensive review. The

superintendent has followed that recommendation

and in turn made an ill-informed recommendation that

cloaks a policy issue as a scientific one to the Ontario

government. It’s now up to the government to do the

right thing and reject it.” (emphasis added)

YOU can help the government reject these recommendations.

BEFORE a decision is made, tell the Minister of Finance to

review all the facts and take more time to get it right.

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