Early Resolution Indigenous Specialist – Office of the Patient Ombudsman (Ontario)

Early Resolution Indigenous Specialist – Office of the Patient Ombudsman (Ontario)

April 22, 2022

About Patient Ombudsman

Patient Ombudsman is a growing organization that champions fairness in Ontario’s healthcare system. Patient Ombudsman is mandated to receive, attempt to resolve, and investigate complaints from patients or their caregivers about their care or experiences in public hospitals, long term care homes, and home and community care support services. Patient Ombudsman may also investigate matters on its own initiative. Following investigations, Patient Ombudsman makes recommendations to health care organizations based on our findings. As an impartial office of last resort, Patient Ombudsman helps when people have not been able to resolve their complaint directly with the health sector organization. As an Ombudsman office, Patient Ombudsman undertakes its mandate independently of Ontario Health in accordance with the Statement of Principles of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman.

Want to make a difference in your career?  Consider this opportunity.

Patient Ombudsman is committed to reconciliation and recognizes the unique status that Indigenous peoples have in Ontario. The establishment of the Early Resolution Indigenous Specialist role in 2020 was an important first step in Patient Ombudsman’s efforts to create a space that is culturally safe and strives to establish trust with Indigenous patients, their loved ones and the community.

Reporting to the Manager, Complaints Services, the Early Resolution Indigenous Specialist is responsible for providing the timely and efficient first-line response to Indigenous complainants and their families in relation to a negative healthcare experience in Ontario’s home and community care support services, long-term care homes, and public hospitals. The Early Resolution Indigenous Specialist will also inform and support Patient Ombudsman’s Indigenous outreach and engagement work.

Here is what you will be doing:

Complaint Intake:

  • Provides immediate, front-line response to inquiries from the general public, addressing concerns and complaints and providing assistance on health care system navigation and Patient Ombudsman services, mandate and jurisdiction.
  • Ensures clients who identify as Indigenous are given the opportunity to disclose and pursue their concerns in an environment that is anti-oppressive, culturally safe, and promotes trust.
  • Conducts interviews with complainants over the phone or in person, as required, clarifying requests and concerns; identifying key issues from the client’s perspective; gathering information about what the client would like included in the resolution process; determining eligibility/validity of complaint and jurisdictional applicability, and providing guidance on steps to formally address concerns; creating case files and gaining stakeholder permission to access records to proceed.
  • Extracts pertinent information through interview process, validating understanding of client concerns; evaluating root of issues and degree of distress/anxiety/agitation of complainant; assessing complexity, sensitivity and associated risks of issues; and taking steps to mitigate risks by removing triggers and diffusing situations.
  • Mediates discussions between individuals with health care concerns and health sector agency representatives, gathering and consolidating relevant information and explanations; facilitating connections/referrals; and ensuring between-party interactions via phone/email/letter are documented and followed up.
  • Determines appropriate course of action with the client to resolve issues/cases, summarizing outcomes; identifying when cases should be closed, referred, or escalated for further investigation; and ensuring all involved parties are apprised of decisions.
  • Ensures clients receive necessary and appropriate accommodations and are treated with dignity.
  • Identifies issues of abuse and neglect, ensuring mandatory reports to the Ministry of Long-Term Care are prepared and submitted.

Complaint Resolution/Case Management:

  • Reviews and analyzes assigned complaint files to identify and resolve issues, conducting preliminary case file reviews; determining validity of complaint and jurisdictional applicability; framing key issues, researching, and gathering all relevant information and documentation; and identifying appropriate interventions to resolve complaints at an early stage.
  • Provides initial contact responses via telephone, email, web form, written correspondence or in person, prioritizing complaints; obtaining and clarifying pertinent information; and following up with clients and health sector organization representatives as required to ensure response timeframes are effectively managed and a common understanding of conflict/issues.
  • Manages a caseload of complaint files, analyzing case file information and issues, consolidating relevant information; assessing associated risks and sensitivities; determining appropriate courses of action to close or escalate a file; and ensuring all between-party correspondence is prepared in a timely manner.
  • Mediates between client and health sector organization representatives, facilitating information/knowledge exchange; negotiating outcomes; resolving disputes; and preparing decisions to close or refer case files.
  • Provides subject-matter expertise on all case files with clients who identify as Indigenous.
  • Develops relationships with team members, participating on committees; sharing information and expertise; collaborating with seasoned experts to discuss alternative approaches and sustainable resolutions.
  • Identifies more complex, sensitive, high-profile or systemic issues outside early resolution guidelines, ensuring their escalation to Complaint Services Manager for direction, further investigation, and recommendations.
  • Provides appropriate information and referrals in response to complaints falling outside the jurisdiction of, or are premature for, Patient Ombudsman to consider.

Documentation and Report Preparation:

  • Creates and maintains comprehensive and accurate case file documentation, ensuring all relevant information is documented, scanned and transferred to the case management system. 
  • Prepares all case file correspondence, official letters and documentation, adapting and translating prepared templates as appropriate to ensure complaints are thoroughly and accurately described, and ensuring all relevant communications and file documents detail the case file status and outcomes, are easy to understand and reflect a neutral and unbiased position and appropriate tone of the Patient Ombudsman.
  • Ensures that all paper and electronic information relating to an inquiry or complaint is documented in the case management system, working with Complaint Services team members to ensure all relevant documentation/file information is referred, transferred and tracked and the case management system record is up-to-date.
  • Assists investigation team members as approved by the manager, collaborating on case file investigations, providing background information, document preparation and research support and input to support escalated case file resolution. 

Quality & Risk Management:

  • Ensures compliance with all relevant policies, procedures and legislative/regulatory requirements.
  • Maintains confidentiality of all sensitive documents and personal/patient information/health information.
  • Monitors complaint/case file documentation and background follow-up information, ensuring all information is accurate, complete and appropriately documented in accordance with Patient Ombudsman and Complaint Services templates, protocols and guidelines.
  • Identifies opportunities to improve efficiency, effectiveness and fairness of services delivered to Indigenous clients, assessing service delivery trends and patterns, and participating in the development or adaptation of templates, tools, procedures and protocols to improve or streamline services and facilitate the timely dissemination of information and issue resolution.
  • Informs and supports Patient Ombudsman’s Indigenous engagement initiatives by applying insights and lessons learned from their complaints resolution work.
  • Identifies potential high-profile/high-risk cases that may involve media, legal, and public interests.
  • Maintains an in-depth understanding and awareness of all pertinent home and community care support services, long-term care home and public hospital operations and governing legislation, interpreting and monitoring changes to programs and shifts in legislative/regulatory requirements, and determining impact on complaint issues to inform case file decisions and recommendations.

Here is what you will need to be successful:

Education and Experience

  • Experience working with Indigenous communities and peoples and/or lived experience with First Nations, Inuit, Métis or urban Indigenous communities in Ontario.
  • Experience working with Indigenous health leaders and service providers.
  • Post-secondary education in social sciences, health sciences, law, alternative dispute resolution or equivalent, or an acceptable combination of education, training and experience.
  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience managing intake and complaint services in a similar type of organization.
  • Experience using case/complaint management systems and other call centre technologies.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Extensive knowledge and understanding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis history, culture and health/socio-economic issues/needs in Ontario, including Indigenous models of health.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with Indigenous communities.
  • Extensive knowledge of the federal and provincial government departments responsible for Indigenous issues and Ontario’s provincial health care system.
  • Knowledge of Indigenous experiences in Ontario’s health care system.
  • Awareness of diversity amongst First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous communities and organizations in the province.
  • Awareness of restorative justice and conflict resolution approaches that are meaningful to Indigenous communities.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate with individuals who are distressed, emotionally distraught or who may require special accommodation.
  • Experience working with individuals who have experienced direct or generational trauma is an asset.
  • Excellent analytical skills with a demonstrated ability to analyze and identify issues fairly without injecting opinion or acting as an advocate.
  • Knowledge of Indigenous determinants of health, social determinants of health, and relevant Indigenous health and social service policies and directions.
  • Ability to exercise judgement to respond to diverse situations.
  • Strong mediation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Knowledge of public hospitals, long-term care homes and/or home and community care support services and systems, operations, resources and governing and regulatory bodies.
  • Understanding of the Excellent Care for All Act and Ontario’s health care sector legislation.
  • Proven experience understanding and interpreting legislation, policies and procedures.
  • Demonstrated commitment to customer service and quality principles in service delivery.
  • Knowledge of an Indigenous language would be an asset.
  • Bilingual in English and French or knowledge of Indigenous languages would be an asset.
  • Proficient use of Microsoft Office suite and the organization’s case/information management systems.

Working Conditions

  • Work is performed in an office environment and/or home office environment. Applicant does not have to be based in Toronto.
  • Occasional requirement to work non-standard hours, i.e., overtime, evenings and/or weekends. Occasional travel may be required.
  • Occasional exposure to angry and upset stakeholders, emotionally charged/challenging situations.
  • Acting under the delegated authority of the Patient Ombudsman, Early Resolution Specialists are required to manage a diverse case load with sound judgment, initiative, and professional courtesy.
  • Extended periods of visual/mental concentration.

Employment Type: Permanent

Location: Ontario (currently virtual; potential for this position to be permanently remote).

All applicants must be a resident of Ontario to be considered for roles at Ontario Health.

Application Deadline Date: May 20, 2022

Apply directly through this link Early Resolution Indigenous Specialist / Spécialiste autochtone du règlement rapide (myworkdayjobs.com)

All candidates must apply with Resume and Cover letter

Note: As part of the initial recruitment screening process, applicants must confirm that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If applicants are not fully vaccinated, they will be asked to identify any accommodation needs pursuant to a protected ground under the Code. If no such accommodation is identified, the applicant will not be eligible to proceed through the recruitment process.

Forum of Canadian Ombudsman