In today’s message you will find

Remembering Dr. Paul Wawryko

Earlier this week, we learned of the sudden death of pathologist Dr. Paul Wawryko. He passed away on Saturday, December 9th at the age of 41. His loss is described by colleagues as tragic, inconceivable and incredibly painful.” 

Dr. Wawryko was a pathologist, starting his career at St. Boniface Hospital in 2011. A dedicated Manitoban, Dr. Wawryko completed his undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate training in the province. He returned to Manitoba just this past September after completing a fellowship in pulmonary pathology at Mayo Clinic, ready to use his new expertise to support critical diagnoses for Manitoba patients. Colleagues have described him as always available to help and improve patient care as well as the environment related to education and clinical service.

Dr. Gabor Fischer, Department Head of Pathology, descripted Dr. Wawryko as an exceptional person. Paul was a good-natured, well-intentioned, caring person. He always uplifted others with his presence and made his environment a better place. He was an outstanding diagnostician and his career had so much potential. Our department is devastated, and it is hard to express the void with words. We will do everything to carry on his legacy, celebrate his life, and cherish what we learned from him.”

A marathon runner, Dr. Wawryko loved exercising, traveling, and spending time with friends. 

Friend and colleague Dr. Belinda Lategan Paul really was one of the best of us. A true friend, an ideal colleague, intelligent on many levels, not just book smart. He was an advocate for the residents he trained, professional without being distant, always aiming to do the right thing. Humble, constantly trying to be — and to do — better. An authentic person in the best way possible. It has been devastating, realizing he is gone. Our hearts are broken. We miss him terribly.”

Doctors Manitoba joins pathologists and colleagues in mourning the death of Dr. Paul Wawryko. Our Doc360 Physician Health supports have been shared with pathologists during this difficult time. If you, a colleague, or a family member, is needs support, or assistance for other reasons, please review our Doc360 resources or contact Physicians At Risk directly by calling 2042378320.

OurCare Report

A national initiative called OurCare, focused on understanding public views on primary care, released its final report this week which focuses exclusively on Manitoba. 

According to the report released by OurCare, a national initiative focused on the future of primary care, Manitoba has the lowest per capita number of family physicians in Canada, something Doctors Manitoba has been raising awareness about for some time. The report also states that residents of rural and small-town communities face even greater challenges to access, highlighting the need to find solutions to these ongoing problems in Manitoba.

As part of the Canada-wide OurCare initiative, 30 Manitobans were selected to represent the province’s demographics. This group formed the OurCare Manitoba Priorities Panel, which spent more than 30 hours listening to experts and deliberating before proposing recommendations for an improved primary care system. As part of the initiative, hundreds of Manitobans also submitted their feedback via a survey.

The Manitoba panelists described an ideal primary care system that was designed to be flexible to meet individual people’s needs, close to home,” said Dr. Amanda Condon, OurCare Manitoba co-lead and associate professor of family medicine at the Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba. They also want to be able to see how the primary care system is performing and see accountability as a core value.”

The panel produced 37 recommendations. Some of these recommendations reinforce priorities Doctors Manitoba is already working on advancing, including expanding physician-led team-based care, expediting the process to recognize qualified international-medical graduates, and offering peer support for new physicians as they transition into practice in Manitoba. The Panel also recommended a shift from individual fee-for-service practitioners in favour of ACCESS Centre models. Of course, Doctors Manitoba negotiated a new remuneration model for family physicians under the new Physician Services Agreement, which will be introduced starting April 12024

Other recommendations include extending primary care availability to after-hours and provide 24/7 access, creating mobile health clinics for rural and remote residents, establishing an Indigenous Health Department in the provincial government, and requiring health care providers to follow clear communication steps that align with patient care plans. 

You can view a two-page summary of the report and recommendations and you can access the full report here.

We are interested in what physicians think of the recommendations. Share your views by emailing practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

Reducing Administrative Burdens

Our work continues on reducing administrative burdens for all physicians. 

Earlier this week, we submitted recommendations to the federal government to address the significant administrative burden physicians shoulder as part of the Canada Disability Benefit application process. The federal department of Employment and Social Development is undertaking a consultation as they develop new regulations for the Canada Disability Benefit. 

Of course, Doctors Manitoba supports a strong disability tax credit as we recognize the link between income and health outcomes. Our concerns relate to the eligibility and application process and how it creates unnecessary administrative burden for physicians, and can strain the physician-patient relationship.

We recommended that physicians should be actively consulted as the application is redesigned if they will continue to be part of establishing applicants’ eligibility. A streamlined approach is needed and the application should be integrated with EMRs to reduce paperwork and expedite the process. We also urged the government to review and update physician remuneration for completing the required forms. You can see our full submission here.

Physicians are invited to share their views directly with the federal
government about the application process and associated administrative burden. You can learn more here and submit your views online. Submissions are accepted until December 21.

Unrelated to the Disability Tax Benefit, there are also several short consultations underway on a variety of topics:

  • SWIM wait list management for surgeons: SWIM was announced last year by Shared Health and the Department of Surgery with the objective of improving the quality, accessibility and efficiency of surgical services in Manitoba. However, we have heard from some surgeons concerned about the impact of SWIM is having on their administrative load. You can take the short survey here to share your views.
  • Workers Compensation Board Requests: If you are involved with WCB claims, consider completing this four-question quick survey to provide feedback about progress reports, including how often you receive these requests and how long they take to complete. You will also be asked for suggestions on how to improve progress reporting, as well as any other advice to improve WCB forms or processes. 
  • EIA Disability Requests: The Department of Families, which is responsible for Income Support Disability benefits, is working on reducing administrative burdens related assessments and other related requests to physicians. Please complete this short survey to provide feedback about the disability impact assessment form and process, as well as other changes related to reassessments and physician approval for special requests.

Health System Updates

Respiratory Virus Update

Dr. Brent Roussin joined Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara this week to provide an update on respiratory viruses, including the impact on health facilities and a message encouraging Manitobans to get vaccinated. 

Some elective surgeries are being cancelled in Manitoba because of hospital capacity issues due to respiratory virus-related admissions to hospital. At HSC, where medicine beds have been at capacity, 13 transitional beds have been added on a temporary basis. 

So far, about 16% of Manitobans have received their COVID-19 shots this year, while about 22% have gotten their flu shots. Among those age 65 and over, about 48% have received a COVID-19 shot this year, while 57% have gotten a flu shot. 

Dr. Roussin encouraged Manitobans to get up to date with their COVID and influenza vaccines. 

Concerns about hospital capacity were echoed earlier this week by Dr. Karen Gripp, medical director for Children’s Emergency. She reported seeing a significant increase in patient visits with respiratory viruses.

First Indigenous-Led RAAM Clinic Now Open

The first Indigenous-led and culturally informed Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic is now open at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre in Winnipeg. The client-centered clinic offers wrap-around supports including assessment, counselling, medication, referrals to withdrawal management services and direct access to community treatment programs and primary health-care providers. Harm reduction supplies including Naloxone, a medication to counter an opioid overdose, are also available at this RAAM clinic. You can read more about this clinic here. 

rTMS Treatment for Adults with Depression

Psychiatrists are now accepting referrals for rTMS, or repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The treatment is now covered for patients under Manitoba Health thanks to our negotiations under the Physician Services Agreement. 

The rTMS programs at St. Boniface and Brainwave Clinic are accepting referrals for patients seeking treatment for treatment resistant depression.

See this memo from the Department of Psychiatry to learn more about rTMS, patient eligibility and exclusion criteria, and referral instructions. 

DRMB Office Closure Notice

The Doctors Manitoba offices will be closed Friday, December 22, 2024 and will reopen Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Our offices are open next week if you require assistance before the closure. While we will be closed during the holidays, our team will be monitoring our Practice Advice email box for any urgent issues. If your matter is urgent, please email us at practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

For Doctors Manitoba members and their families needing health and wellness supports, please visit Doc360 or call 18444333762 (433-DRMB). Support continues to be available 24/7 through the holiday season.

NEW BIPOC Peer Support Group

Register here to join our new virtual peer support group for medical students, residents, and practicing and retired physicians who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.

Group peer support brings together people who share a lived or living experience and provides a confidential, supportive space where peers can listen without judgment, share insights, and provide hope and encouragement to one another. 

For more information about current and upcoming group-based peer support opportunities for Doctors Manitoba members, click here.

Physician of the Week

Dr. Stefanie Narvey’s passion lies in unraveling the intricacies of child development, working at the Child Development Clinic and the Manitoba FASD Centre, where she is involved with the FASD Justice program. A highlight of her role is the opportunity to work in rural and remote communities, conducting outreach clinics. It’s in these settings that she feels privileged to hear people’s stories. She says​“I love that my job allows me to dig deep with families and try to help them understand their children better and figure out how to best support them.” This work highlights the barriers and waitlists that hinder access to vital services, particularly for those who need them most. Read more about Dr. Narvey and other physicians who have been featured as Physician of the Week.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s our most popular recent posts, in case you missed them:

Upcoming Events

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

Every Step of the Way: A Collaborative Approach to Physician and Learner Well-being — January 15, 2024 — 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us to learn about the well-being services and supports available to medical students, residents, and physicians in Manitoba. Click here to learn more. Register here!

Physician Leadership Supports For Future and Current Leaders

Doctors Manitoba is pleased to present NEW in-depth learning opportunities for physicians, residents, and learners interested or involved in leadership: 

  1. Physician Leadership: Supports for Future Leaders 
  2. Physician Leadership: Supports for New and Established Leaders 

Participants will engage in 3 – 4 workshops and 3 group coaching sessions with experienced facilitators Tom Lloyd, MD and Dawn Martin, PhD.

Space is limited! All sessions are virtual. See details here and REGISTER NOW.

Mindful Practice in Medicine Workshop ‑February 21 – 24, 2024 in Banff

Direct from the renowned University of Rochester, the Mindful Practice in Medicine Core Workshop, developed by physicians to help medical practitioners and educators respond to the erosion of joy in their work, provides an experiential and interactive learning environment. The approach is evidence based – as it lessens the effects of burnout and improves well-being, engagement with work, and patient-centered compassionate care. 

Register for a retreat-like workshop designed to energize your clinical work while helping you find joy and resilience, through honing your self-awareness and deep listening skills that are keys to navigating stressful and demanding situations you face daily. 

  • Learn How To
  • Find meaning in your work
  • Effectively manage challenges in clinical work
  • Improve communication
  • Experience clarity and focus
  • Be part of a larger community
  • Be more resilient
  • Listen more deeply
  • Cultivate compassion and gratitude
  • Become more self-aware

Registration deadline is January 21st, 2024. Register here.

Cases in Cancer — Gastric Cancer — an Update in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Issues — Webinar — December 198 – 9am

Join the CancerCare Manitoba Community Oncology Program Cases in Cancer Webinar on December 19 2023. Dr. Benjamin Goldenberg and Dr. Farhana Shariff will be presenting on the topic entitled​‘Gastric Cancer: an Update in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Issues’. Webinar is worth 1.0 Mainpro+ Certified Credits. View the event poster.

Register in advance here for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.