|Dear OPC members,
We hope that you are staying safe and healthy during these difficult times.
OPC is committed to connecting the orthotics and prosthetics community and are working hard behind the scenes to ensure our response is appropriate in all aspects of the service we deliver. Unfortunately, we are not a regulatory body and have no jurisdiction over orthotic and prosthetic employers or how they should operate their businesses. That being said, we still represent the profession and want to ensure that you, our members, feel like you can use us as a resource throughout this period of social isolation and uncertainty.
The mobility and comfort of our patients is important, even during isolation. There are many instances where the services OPC members provide may be considered essential services. We ask that you evaluate each patient request on an individual basis and take all federal, provincial and municipal guidelines into account when doing so. Some best advice and best practices include:
- The Government of Canada is providing regular updates on guidance regarding COVID-19. This includes information for health professionals found here.
- Unless you work exclusively in emergency care, Orthotics and Prosthetics professionals should not be operating with a business as usual mentality.
- Risk assessment for exposure to your personnel and the public is essential. The CDC provides a valuable guide here.
- Make sure to stay up to date with your provincial and municipal recommendations. These are generally updated daily, if not hourly.
- Pre-interview patients who request an appointment by phone to evaluate their COVID-19 risk and the urgency of their needs.
- From the Health Canada resource linked above: Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. Symptoms, similar to a cold or flu, may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Current studies are investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. Symptoms include:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
- If your organization is staying open during this pandemic to treat patients:
- All staff that can perform their duties remotely should be directed to do so.
- Facilities should be set up so that if more than one patient is present at a time, they are not kept within 6 feet of one another.
- Facilities should be disinfected throughout each day.
- Gloves and facial masks should be worn at all times.
Government Support for Businesses
In addition to changes to EI, the Government of Canada has announced $82B in funding to support Canadians and businesses. A good summary of the support available for businesses can be found on Millards’ website and includes the highlight:
“Small business employers will be eligible to a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of the employee wages to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. This benefit will be immediate as businesses will reduce their remittance of income tax withholding to CRA.”
What OPC is doing
- The OPC Executive is reaching out personally to industry suppliers to obtain extended payment terms for our members. Expect more specifics on this effort soon.
- Our management firm at Redstone has closed their physical offices. All staff are working remotely for the foreseeable future. Administrative services are still running at near 100% functionality.
- Our Certification and Registration Board is taking all measures to plan for future delivery of in-person exams per our update from yesterday.
- Our conference committee is meeting regularly and planning for contingencies.
- The Executive is attending the Assistive Devices Coalition meeting on Tuesday, March 24th to join forces with partner associations and ensure our professions have a voice with government.
- The OPC Board of Directors is meeting on March 24th to further cement our approach to dealing with this pandemic.
- All staff and the Executive are reviewing relevant information and news as it releases to prepare poignant updates for OPC members.
We respect that there is a lot of information being shared directly with everyone right now and are trying to focus our updates to what is most relevant to you. Please feel free to reach out to our Executive Director, Seamus Gearin (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you are looking for more specific guidance and we will advise as appropriate.
Please know that OPC is a community and we are all in this together.