A delegation of representatives of the Ontario Opticians Association(OOA) recently met with officials from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) to discuss changes to the Assistive Devices Program(ADP). OOA member Amber Fournier and OOA directors Jennifer Wicks and Zully Kasmani, along with OOA Executive Director Lorne Kashin, met with ADP Director Susan Picarello and her executive team that included, among others, Emily Szeto – Senior Manager and Joan Stevens – Senior Program Manager.
The OOA presented information about Ontario opticians and the important role they play in delivering eye care to Ontarians. The number of opticians, and the accessibility Ontarians have to opticians, province wide, was discussed.
The OOA proposed that Ontario optician’s role in the ADP program be expanded to include the ability to act as Authorizers. Currently opticians can only register as Vendors within the program. The process for ADP clients accessing ADP support for Low Vision devices starts with an ophthalmologist or an optometrist identifying a need for a Low Vision device and issuing a prescription for a device of which would be determined by an Authorizer registered with ADP. Authorizer status is held by numerous groups including both regulated and non-regulated Authorizers. The OOA presented information that showed that opticians have the training and authority to provide assessments for those seeking Low Vision Aids.
With the current trend towards the provision of homecare to Ontarians, the OOA delegation proposed that the ADP policy that stipulates that all Vendors must work from a bricks and mortar location, be rescinded. The current policy puts up a barrier to access for many homebound Low Vision patient’s requiring support from the ADP program.
The OOA delegation was very encouraged by the reception given by Susan Picarello and her team. Susan thanked the OOA for coming in and educating her and her team about Ontario opticians and the important role they play. The OOA was told that the information provided would be reviewed and that the ADP department would get back to the OOA in January regarding the proposals.
Stay tuned for updates.