In today’s message you will find:

Meeting with Minister Asagwara

Earlier this week, Doctors Manitoba met with Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara to present an update on the Joint Task Force to Reduce Administrative Burdens for Physicians. The delegation included our President Elect, Dr. Randy Guzman, and Dr. Alexis Botkin, the Board Representative for the Victoria Medical District who both serve on the Task Force. The Minister listened, was concerned about the magnitude of administrative burdens physicians face, and offered support to continue the work to reduce these burdens.

The Task Force was established earlier this year with a mandate to not only measure administrative burden and recommend how to reduce it, but also to support actions to reduce it. The Task Force has found:

  • Physicians in Manitoba spend an average of 10.1 hours per week on administrative tasks.
  • 44% of that time is unnecessary, which means the task could be eliminated completely, could be simplified or streamlined in some way, or could be delegated to someone else.
  • This means physicians spend 633,000 hours per year on unnecessary administrative tasks.

The Task Force worked with physicians to rank the top 20 burdens identified, including tasks such as referrals, private insurance forms, the Canada disability tax credit, IT and EMR challenges, sick notes, and many more. The owners of these burdens have been engaged and several projects are underway to reduce administrative burdens.

You can still add your views on administrative burdens you face in your day-to-day work, to help the Joint Task Force push ahead with reducing these burdens. If you did not receive an email a few weeks ago inviting you to participate, please email us at adminburden@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca and we can provide the link. The survey covers several administrative burdens, but you can select only the topics that affect you, such as sick notes, return-to-work forms, referrals and consultations, private insurance forms, eChart, and more. They also want to see the worst forms you encounter as a physician. 

Award Nominations Due Monday!

Nominations for the 2024 Doctors Manitoba Awards! Nominations are due by December 4, 2023. However, you can request an extension to complete a nomination if needed.

As we focus on rebuilding the health care system and addressing the physician shortage and high levels of burnout, we want to be sure we are recognizing excellence in the medical profession in Manitoba. The Doctors Manitoba Awards are the highest honour in the province for physicians. There is no shortage of physicians who have been demonstrating excellence this year and throughout their careers.

There are five different awards available to recognize physicians including: Humanitarian of the Year Award, Physician of the Year, Resident of the Year, Distinguished Service Award and Medal of Excellence. 

If you need an extension, or if you have any questions, contact our Awards Coordinator Aiyana Crolly at aicrolly@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

Nominate a colleague today.
Learn more about the awards criteria and nomination requirements here.

Shape Direction for Doctors Manitoba

Last week, we held a session with physicians from across Manitoba, both in-person and virtually, to review the direction, mission and strategy for your medical association. Whether you attend or missed it, you still have a chance to add your views. Our consultant has created a video summarizing what we heard. You can watch the video here (16 minutes), and then complete this 2‑question survey to help us decide if we are on the right track in shaping how Doctors Manitoba will serve you over the next four years.

Our current strategic plan ends in 2024, so your views will help to shape the next plan to guide Doctors Manitoba into the future, and ensure we are focused on meeting the needs of physicians.

Family Medicine AGM – Dec 6 @ 6:30 PM

The Doctors Manitoba Section of Family Practice is holding its annual AGM next week. This event will include a special update on planning for the introduction of Family Medicine Plus, Manitoba’s longitudinal family practice model, updates on the new Physician Services Agreement, and other topics. 

To attend virtually please click here to register.

To attend in person, please contact Cheryl Bezte at cbezte@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca to RSVP for the meeting, which will be held at our office at 20 Desjardins Drive in Winnipeg.

Marking World AIDS Day

Physicians are concerned about increasing rates in Manitoba of HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI).

How can you help in your practice? Here are two quick ways, from the Manitoba HIV program:

Earlier today, the provincial government announced new funding and additional temps to improve access to HIV prevention and intervention including more than $527,000 to support initiatives by the Manitoba HIV Program for the current fiscal year and more than $271,000 for a mobile care service run by the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre (AHWC).

The Manitoba HIV Program and partners will use funding to develop the infrastructure required to launch the Program to Access Treatment for HIV and Support (PATHS). PATHS will create several interdisciplinary teams in Winnipeg with potential to expand to Brandon and Thompson to provide outreach services and intensive case management for people living with HIV who are not connected to care. The community-based teams will provide early access to antiretroviral therapy and ensure clients remain connected to treatment and other supports.

The new mobile care service operated by the AHWC will provide Indigenous-led HIV and STBBI care to individuals who are unhoused or precariously housed, in addition to other wrap-around supports. It will become their home clinic” and will address immediate health issues, help manage any chronic health concerns and connect them with other supports including housing, community program, harm reduction services, mental health counselling or access to cultural supports like traditional medicines, ceremony or land-based programming.

The provincial government has also dedicated funding through Research Manitoba to create the new Dr. John Richard (Rick) Middleton Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship in HIV-AIDS Research. This is a fitting tribute to Dr. Smith’s legacy of commitment to normalizing HIV and STBBI care. The fellowship will seek candidates committed to innovative research in HIV-AIDS with a focus on areas such as disease transmission dynamics, prevention strategies, treatment interventions, community engagement and health-care disparities. This award will open to applicants in February 2024 for a fall 2024 start. 

To treat and prevent further transmission, we understand the province is also working to:

  • Expand coverage of HIV medication for those without access through a provincial or federal drug program, which is expected to be in place in the coming months;
  • Support ongoing work with Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Mino Pimatisiwin Sexual Wellness Lodge, to provide culturally safe care; and
  • Hire dedicated staff located across the province who support public health follow-up for sexually transmitted blood-borne infections cases and contacts. 

DRMB Book Club

A memoir about intergenerational trauma, healing, and connection. Facing up to a story nearly erased by the designs of history, father and son journey together back to the trapline at Black Water and through the past to create a new future. Join us for our fourth virtual book meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2024, from 7:00pm – 8:30pm as we read the Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the year, Blackwater” by David A Robertson. We are thrilled to announce that the author will be joining our virtual book club for a Q+A. There will also be a chance for the group to discuss the book and share thoughts. Register Here!

The Doctors Manitoba Physician Health and Wellness committee is committed to providing opportunities for building connection and community in medicine.

Physician of the Week

While she has received many awards and accolades, Dr. Yasmin Azher says the true measure of her success in medicine is the​“dazzling smiles of [her] patients following their triumphant success with the cruel battle of harsh illness.” Colleague Dr. Mona Melek says Dr. Azher is a dedicated family physician, highly knowledgeable, and​“plays a vital role in Continued Professional Development workshops.” Dr. Azher provides a range of care at the Thompson Clinic, Thompson General Hospital, and CancerCare Manitoba’sThompson site. She is proud of having completed oncology training, a milestone that broadens the horizons of her practice and allows her to make a​“profound impact on the lives of those nearing the end of life.” Read more about Dr. Azher and other physicians we’ve featured throughout 2023.

Hippocratic High Notes 🎶 🎶

Do you secretly sing in the shower? Do you proudly sing on stage? Or are you somewhere in between? Well, then join us as we launch a new choir comprising of female physicians, active and retired, residents and medical learners in January 2024! In what promises to be a fun, bucket-filling activity also aimed at building bridges and making connections! All are welcome! No auditions! No experience needed! Practices will be in Winnipeg. Just bring enthusiasm, a desire to sing and to have fun!!

Contact us by the 31st December 2023

Angela: mbdoctorchoirinfo@​gmail.​com

Dee: hippocratichighnotes@​gmail.​com

Health System Updates

Intervals between COVID-19 vaccine doses

Public Health issued a reminder to clarify the interval between COVID vaccine doses. Individuals are currently recommended to wait 6 months after their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine or infection (whichever is later) to get the updated XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccine. This is because there is better protection when there is a longer interval between doses. However, shorter intervals (i.e., 3 months to less than 6 months) following previous vaccination or infection have also not been shown to pose a safety risk.
With the increased circulation of respiratory viruses, health care providers are recommended to have an informed consent discussion with clients who have not yet received the updated XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccine but are at least 3 months from their last dose of any previous COVID-19 vaccine formulation or known infection. If clients choose to be vaccinated prior to therecommended 6‑month interval after this discussion, it is reasonable to proceed and administer a dose.
See the full memo from Public Health here.

More Hospital Capacity Coming

Earlier this week, the government announced plans to add more inpatient beds at the Grace Hospital. This includes 31 more beds total, including 10 more medicine beds and 11 more surgery beds planned for this fiscal year, and then 10 more medicine beds in 2024/25. The government noted these beds are intended to help reduce wait times, both for surgery and in the ER recognizing that ER congestion can be caused by patients waiting for admission to hospital. Following the election promise to reopen ERs by the NDP, Doctors Manitoba provided feedback that more inpatient capacity and a focus on other services to support safe and timely discharges are among the most important steps towards reducing wait times.

Dr. Ramin Hamedani, the CMO at Grace Hospital, explained that this increased bed capacity is fundamental to our operations and will help improve our patient flow, which will in turn provide more timely access to care and ultimately even better outcomes for all of our patients,” adding that this new medicine unit is precisely what Grace Hospital needs to provide the best care possible.”

You can read more about this announcement here.

The government has plans to add more at HSC, St. Boniface and Brandon hospitals as well, though no further details have been announced yet.

In response to the announcement, we have expressed support but also concern about recruiting the necessary physicians and other health care workers needed to operate the additional beds. Of course, we will work with Manitoba Health and WRHA on how to support effective physician recruitment and retention.

This announcement follows another from last week focused on supporting more timely discharges from inpatient units. The government pledged more allied health and home care resources to expand discharge capacity from five to seven days a week. The resources will be added at hospitals in Winnipeg, Selkirk and Brandon. You can read more about this announcement here.

Listening Tour Launched

The government has announced details about its listening tour, to ideas, concerns, and priorities of front-line health-care workers in health care. At each session, Premier Wab Kinew and Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara will will meet with physicians and other front line providers to hear their ideas and concerns about where they work. The first stop will go to Grace Hospital on Dec 8. Additional sessions are planned for HSC, St. Boniface, Victoria, Brandon, Bethesda, Selkirk, and Thompson Hospitals. Dates for these sessions have not yet been announced, and it is expected additional sessions will be planned. We have recommended sessions for community-based physicians, as they are often left out of health system consultations. Information will be posted on this web page, and we understand an online consultation tool will be added at some point.

In Case You Missed It

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Upcoming Events

Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge, increase your awareness, or build leadership skills, we have many sessions planned!

2023 Market Update – MD Financial Webinar - Monday, December 11, 2023 6 p.m. CST

MD Financial Management is pleased to invite you to their exclusive market update webinar tailored specifically for Canadian physicians. During this virtual session they will cover:

  • A year in review: An in-depth analysis of the economy in the past year
  • Emerging trends: Insights into the future and how they could affect you
  • Financial planning strategies: Practical advice to navigate the changing landscape. Register here to reserve your spot.