private meetings in the public interest

I recently learned from Diane Côté, Director of Communications at the OPQ, that their Legal Advisor is currently attending private meetings with four major third party subsidizers of psychological services in Quebec (SSQ, the CSST, Health Canada –Aboriginal Program, and IVAC).

The purpose of these meetings, according to Côté, is "to determine whether or not [these third parties] accept that services be delivered by psychotherapists and under what conditions.
” [my translation]  She also specified that these meetings were not "inter-professional" and "not public."  Apparently, the OPQ will be the sole professional Order to determine, in  private meetings with the above government agencies, whether and how public funds are going to be made available to consumers seeking subsidized psychotherapeutic services in Quebec.

In the same (June 16) communication, Ms. Côté also confirmed that, when members of the public consult the OPQ’s online referral service in search of subsidized services by these third party payers, they are currently provided with
only "the names of psychologists" even though many other psychotherapists are qualified to provide these services.  Mme Côté did not seem concerned about that, or about whether it was in the public’s interest to exclude these other providers from the referrals offered by the OPQ's site to the public at large.  I can only assume this is because, as she told me in a previous email exchange, the Order of Psychologist’s online referral service is "not regulated by their professional code". 

One can only hope that, regardless of whether their meetings with government agencies are “regulated by the professional code” or not, the OPQ will make every effort 
in the public interest to promote the services of all psychotherapists licensed by their Order, including non-psychologist providers who are, not only as qualified as psychologists to provide these services to the public, but who have specialized licenses in the types of treatment sought by the public which most psychologists lack, namely: licenses in marital and family therapy, social work, occupational therapy, nursing, psycho-education, career counseling, and sexology.  

But, in light of how the OPQ dissimulates conflict of interest as public protection on its website, it would be wise to view its need for secret meetings with a healthy dose of suspicion .

1 comment:

  1. suggesting that what appears on the site of the OPQ is ''not regulated by the professional code'' of psychologists is ridiculous. It is some pretty heavy duty compartmentalization from where i am standing!