DAC Communiqué - April 1998

This update is designed to provide information on the activities of the Minister's Committee on the Designated Assessment Centre System ("the DAC Committee").

DAC Committee Welcomes New Consumer Representative

The DAC Committee welcomes Mrs. Helen Anderson, the Minister's newest appointee, to the DAC Committee effective February 1998. Mrs. Anderson joins the two other consumer representatives (John Watkins and Phyllis Smith) on the DAC Committee. Mrs. Anderson has represented the consumer's point of view to the insurance industry since 1972. She was a member of the former Accident Benefits Advisory Committee, appointed by the Ontario Insurance Commissioner, for five years. Most recently, she was elected as President of the Consumers' Association of Canada (Ontario) in April 1997. The DAC Committee looks forward to her participation as the DAC Committee carries out its many tasks.

Consultation with DACs and Stakeholders

The DAC Committee has undertaken the task of reviewing, revising and developing a cohesive and comprehensive DAC manual, with input from DACs and other stakeholders. The DAC manual will cover three categories:

  • Operational Procedures - those requirements that pertain to the administrative and business activities of all DACs regardless of assessment type.

  • General Guidelines - those procedural guidelines, definitions and responsibilities that apply to all DACs regardless of assessment type, and to insurers, too.

  • Assessment Protocols - the intake, assessment and reporting guidelines specific to each DAC type.

It is expected that this task will be completed by the beginning of next year and a manual including all DAC procedures, guidelines and assessment protocols will be available for distribution.

Many DACs and stakeholders have already provided input on operating procedures, general guidelines and existing protocols. In some cases standardized assessment protocols do not exist and need to be developed. The foundation for this development is the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), along with the DAC Committee's long term goal to create and maintain a DAC system that is cost effective in providing assessments which are fair and useful to claimants and insurers in resolving their disputes.

To effectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a new or revised operating procedure or general guideline, some aspects will need to be implemented and evaluated across the system (for example, the use of video surveillance in assessments), while others will be examined within smaller focus groups before being introduced to the DAC system. When an operating procedure or a general guideline is introduced system wide, the DAC Committee will set a time period to collect feedback from stakeholders. Once stakeholder input is reviewed, the DAC Committee will be in a position to modify the guideline as necessary.

Consultation on newly developed or revised assessment protocols with DACs and stakeholders has and will always occur prior to the release. This process was established with the recently released Catastrophic Impairment DAC Interim Manual. Consultations on the Residual Earning Capacity DAC have already begun and consultations with Disability and Medical Rehabilitation DACs are planned for late spring 1998.

The DAC Committee would like to take this opportunity to assure its stakeholders that all operating procedures, general guidelines and assessment protocols are "living documents," which will be monitored and modified as necessary.

Surveillance Guideline - Update

The DAC Committee recently released a new General Guideline on the use of video surveillance in DAC assessments (GG-1 December 1997). This Guideline was developed in response to an overwhelming concern raised by DACs and other stakeholders that a uniform and consistent practice needed to be established for DACs to deal with surveillance material sent to them by insurers.

We encourage you to keep us informed in writing as to your experiences with the use of surveillance in DAC assessments over the next four months, along with any suggestions you may have, to assist the DAC Committee in making modifications to the Guideline that may be necessary.

Please forward your comments to:

DAC General Guideline
Minister's Committee on the Designated Assessment Centre System
c/o Accident Benefits Analysis Unit
Ontario Insurance Commission
5160 Yonge Street
North York, Ontario M2N 6L9

Subcommittee Update

The New Protocols Working Group is currently in the early stages of development of the Medical/Rehabilitation and Disability assessment protocols. Dr. Rocco Guerriero, President of the Association of Designated Assessment Centres (ADAC), who sits on the DAC Committee on an ex officio basis, has requested DACs to identify issues, and suggest solutions, relevant to these assessment protocols. Comments may be sent to: DAC New Protocols Working Group at the address set out above.

The Existing Protocols Working Group held a forum with Residual Earning Capacity (REC) DAC providers on March 11, 1998 for consultation and review of the existing manual. Work on Attendant Care assessment protocols will begin shortly.

The Operations Subcommittee is currently developing guidelines to address concerns raised by DACs regarding requests for release of information, including clinical notes and records and curriculum vitae.

The Communications Subcommittee provides support to the other subcommittees and working groups in the development and issuance of guidelines, as well as monitoring feedback with respect to those guidelines.

The Fees Subcommittee was recently formed to develop an ongoing process for reviewing and implementing fees for DACs. The Subcommittee is currently addressing the issue of REC DAC fees.

April 1998

 
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