An Act to Protect Patients
On November 19, 2018, the Government of Alberta gave Royal Assent to Bill 21 – An Act to Protect Patients. This Bill introduces the most profound changes to the Health Professions Act (HPA) since its inception in 2001. Parts of this legislation came into force on the day of assent with the balance coming into effect on April 1, 2019.
The enactment of this legislation has far reaching impact on health colleges and their members.
Under Bill 21, the new standard of practice must set out:
- The definition of a “patient” for the purposes of our regulated members;
- When a sexual relationship may occur between a regulated member and a former patient; and
- When a person who is a common-law, spouse of, or an adult in an interdependent relationship with a regulated member may also be a patient.
It also mandates the following:
- permanent cancellation of a practice permit for any health professional whose conduct is proven to be sexual abuse of a patient;
- at minimum, suspension of a practice permit for any health professional whose conduct is proven to be sexual misconduct toward a patient; and
- a five-year prohibition on applying for reinstatement for any health professional whose practice permit is cancelled for sexual misconduct toward a patient.
Standards of Practice
In order to conform to the requirements of Bill 21, Council retired the previous SP 6.0 Doctor-patient Relationships and approved the new Standard of Practice 6.0 Professional Boundaries with Patients, Including Dating and/or Sexual Relationships . The new SP 6.0 has also received ministerial approval. Please review the Standard carefully and contact the ACAC office if you have questions or would like clarification.
The Standard outlines expectations and requirements related to the conduct of chiropractors in their relationship and engagement with patients to ensure a common understanding of the appropriate professional boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship.
Breaches of this Standard may constitute a finding of unprofessional conduct under the Health Professions Act in relation to “sexual abuse” or “sexual misconduct.”
Read the Standards of Practice 6.0 Professional Boundaries with Patients