In today’s message you will find:

Maternal/​Parental Leave – Better Benefit 

Starting January 1, our Maternal/​Parental Benefit has been improved to better support physicians in Manitoba, making ours one of the best in Canada. This was one of several enhancements to physician benefits under the new Physician Services Agreement we negotiated last summer. 

The benefit, which supports a maternal/​parental leave of up to 20 weeks, will now:

  • Offer a maximum of $2,000 per week, up from $1,400 previously (retroactive to August 142023). 
  • Adopt a more generous calculation to help more members maximize their benefit payment to up to 90% of your income up to $2,000 per week, up from the previous 60% cap.
  • Remove limitations on eligibility for physician couples, allowing both physician parents to claim the full benefit for the full 20-week period. 

You can read more about the benefit and the full criteria on our website. Members who are already receiving the benefit will be contacted individually about any increase for which they may be eligible.

Expanding our Maternal/​Parental Benefit is one small part of our efforts to improve equity in the medical profession. It also will help to keep Manitoba competitive, when it comes to recruitment and retention, especially for early-career physicians who are considering permanent practice locations across the country. 

Speaking of benefits, if you haven’t already claimed your CPSM License Fee Rebate, you should do so now! You can claim this on the Member Portal for an expedited rebate, or you or an assistant can claim it here without logging in.

Under our new Physician Services Agreement, you will also see other benefits enhanced, including rebates for your CMPA fees and continuing professional development expenses. Stay tuned for details on these changes in the next few months. 

You can contact us with questions about any of our benefit programs at benefits@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

Listening Tour – Share Your Views

The provincial government is continuing its listening tour” with a stop on Thursday at St. Boniface Hospital. An online version has also been created to allow all physicians and health care workers to share their views virtually and anonymously. 

The Premier and Health Minister are holding in-person meetings at hospitals around the province over the next few months. This includes two sessions now complete at Grace and St. Boniface, with more to follow.

We encourage physicians to participate, either in-person or online. The online tool allows you to submit views anonymously, and asks about your opinion of the health system, challenges you experience, suggestions for improving it, and what makes you feel valued and appreciated. While time will tell if and how the culture in health care will be improved in Manitoba, taking the time to share your views on these topics can only help. Traditionally, physician participation has been low in health system surveys because of how they were distributed. Doctors Manitoba is sharing this request as we think there is an authentic attempt to listen, learn and improve the culture. 

In our new Physician Services Agreement, negotiated last summer, we also secured a commitment to engage and consult physicians on changes that will affect your day-to-day work. We are working on recommendations for health system leaders to put that commitment into practice.

Membership Fee Receipts Available

In our continued effort to improve our services, we are making receipts for your Doctors Manitoba membership fees available online through our secure Member Portal. Many members need these receipts for tax purposes, to claim as an expense. Your receipts are available for your annual membership invoiced last fall, for the period of September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2024. Click here to log in to the portal and download and print your receipt. If you need help accessing the portal or your receipt, please contact us at membership@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

Physician Health & Wellness Programs & Supports

Doctors Manitoba is committed to strengthening and supporting the whole physician. We work to ensure that every physician and medical learner has the support they need to deliver exceptional care to Manitobans. A significant part of this work is advocating for the health and wellness of our members and working to improve the environments in which members work and learn. 

We know that comprehensive physician health programming needs to encompass prevention and reduce stigma for help seeking behaviours, have treatment programs specific to the needs to physicians and medical learners and move beyond the focus on individual interventions. 

Webinar: Every Step of the Way: A Collaborative Approach to Physician and Learner Well-being

January 15, 2024 from 6:30 – 8:00pm
This webinar brings together a variety of organizations to share about the services and supports they provide, who is eligible to receive these services, and how these services work together collaboratively to support physicians, residents, medical students, and their family members in Manitoba. Learn more about the event and register.

NEW Group-Based Peer Support Opportunities 

Group peer support brings together people who share a lived or living experience and provides a confidential, non-clinical, supportive space where peers can listen without judgment, share insights, and provide hope and encouragement to one another. For information about current and upcoming peer support groups, click here.

  1. BIPOC Peer Support Group — January 17, 31, February 28, March 27, April 24, and May 29. — 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. For more information about the group, click here.
  2. Female Surgeons & Surgical Residents Peer Support Group — February 12, March 11, April 8, May 13, and June 30 — Register here to join our new virtual peer support group for female surgeons and female surgical residents. For more information about the group, click here.

Physician Leadership Practical Skills Series

There are three sessions left in our Physician Leadership Practical Skills Series! 

  • January 25: Relational Awareness — The New Essential Skill (5:30 — 7:30pm)
  • February 21: Lessons Learned from Complaints (Noon — 1:00)
  • March 4: Using Relational Awareness to Build Better Team (5:30 — 7:30pm)

Sign up for one, or all three. Register Now!

Physician Leadership: Supports for Future Leaders [Now Open to New and Established Leaders]

February 7, 14, 21, 28 (new) (6.30 – 8.30pm); March 20, April 17, May 22 (6.30 – 7.30pm)

Are you a new, established or future leader looking for experienced support and connection with colleagues? Due to popular demand, our​‘Supports for Future Leaders’ offering is now open to new and established leaders as well!

Participants will engage in 4 workshops and 3 group coaching sessions with facilitators Tom Lloyd, MD and Dawn Martin, PhD, focusing on:

  • Self/​relational awareness and management 
  • Boundary setting for self, others and the group
  • Preventing misunderstanding and resolving conflict
  • And more, catered to the needs of the group

Space is limited! All sessions are virtual. See details here and register now.

Health System Updates

Respiratory Season and Bacterial Infections

Public Health has issued a bulletin advising physicians about an increase in secondary bacterial infections linked with circulating viral respiratory infections. This includes invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections. All physicians are asked to remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of IMD and iGAS and other secondary bacterial infections. 

Read the full bulletin here for more information, including recommendations and reporting requirements. 

Medical Carriers Shutting Down 

Physicians should note that Medical Carriers Ltd, a medical courier service, has ceased its operations effective today due to financial hardships.” We understand plans are in place for another company to purchase and take over all routes and continue the service Medical Carriers has provided for decades. We anticipate some service disruptions may occur starting next week as they finalize the sale, but current ownership has said they are working on this quickly to help resume services as quickly as possible and minimize any interruptions” to service. They expect to provide an update early next week. 

eConsult Update

Electronic consultation (eConsult) is a secure asynchronous digital service for primary care physicians (PCP) to submit non-urgent, patient-specific questions to a specialist outside of an in-person visit and receive a response (or advice) back within 7 days. 

As of October 1, 2023, new tariffs were introduced to remunerate both referring primary care physicians and responding specialists who provide service on one of the approved eConsult platforms. For more information on billing, see our Billing Advice article here.

There are currently two approved secure web-based platforms for eConsult in Manitoba: BASE eConsult and eConsult (Store and Forward), with over 900 primary care physicians utilizing eConsult in Manitoba and over 76 speciality services.

New speciality services added to eConsult in December 2023 include:


  • Dr. Heather Frame, Family Medicine Osteoporosis
  • Dr. Eric Hyun, General and Colorectal Surgery
  • Dr. Mahwash Saeed, Cardiology/Women’s Heart Health
  • Dr. Mbuyu Bushidi, PMH Cardiology
  • Dr. Greg Harding, Vascular Surgery
  • Dr. Shona Nair, Chronic Pain
  • Dr. Anene Cheung, Sports Medicine-Pam Am
  • Dr. Hossein Kashefi, Sports & Exercise Medicine

Store and Forward:

  • Dr. Mbuyu Bushidi, PMH Cardiology

For a complete list of available eConsult specialty services see the eConsult Quick Reference Guides at Training — MBTelehealth, including eConsult (BASE) List of Specialties and eConsult (Store and Forward) Referring Guidelines.

See here for more information on eConsult including how to register.

If you have questions about billing email us at practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca

More Inpatient Hospital Beds Coming

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced its plans to add 36 more acute care beds at St. Boniface Hospital, as part of a broader plan to reduce wait times in ERs and stabilized hospital capacity. This builds on plans already announced to add 31 more beds at Grace Hospital. 

Based on advice from physicians, Doctors Manitoba recommended expanding hospital capacity in our Prescription for Improving Health Care last summer as an essential component to any plan to reduce wait times. During the election, the current government adopted our advice and promised to add 130 more inpatient beds, as well as more PCH and home care capacity. We are happy to see the government following through on this commitment to improve patient care. 

At St. Boniface, Emergency Medical Director Dr. Paul Ratana explains why inpatient beds are so important. Dr. Ratana is also the Provincial Specialty Lead for Emergency Medicine

Working in the emergency department at St. Boniface Hospital, our staff, nurses and physicians know that the inability to move previously seen and admitted patients into the hospital is the number one reason wait times for emergency patients are unacceptably long. More inpatient capacity is a vital part of any effort to reduce waiting room times because it immediately frees up emergency department beds so that we can see and treat more incoming patients sooner.” 

Changes in Medical Leadership

Two departments have new medical leaders, who serve both as the head of their department with the University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine, and as provincial specialty lead with Shared Health. 

In Family Medicine, Dr. Amanda Condon has been appointed as the new department head and provincial specialty lead. Dr. Condon is a UM graduate and associate professor, and has held several leadership roles in the past with both the University and within the Winnipeg and Southern Health Regions. She also continues to practice comprehensive family medicine. Dr. Condon takes over from Dr. José François, after his many years of dedicated leadership in this role. See the announcement here.

In Radiology, Dr. Stephen Ying has been appointed as the new department head and provincial specialty lead. Dr. Ying is also a UM graduate, who specializes in neuroradiology. He has held several educational responsibilities with UM while actively practicing at HSC. He has held leadership roles, including director of adult CT and MRI at HSC. He takes over from Dr. Marco Essig after his many years of thoughtful leadership in radiology and diagnostic imaging. See the announcement here.

rTMS treatment for depression – now accepting new patients

As of October 1st, 2023, the province of Manitoba has started covering rTMS treatments. As such, the rTMS programs at St. Boniface Hospital and Brainwave Clinic are accepting referrals for patients seeking treatment for treatment resistant depression (TRD).

What is rTMS?

rTMS stands for repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It is a non-invasivetechnique for modulating brain activity through a magnetic field. Magnetic pulses are delivered through a coil positioned close to the scalp to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), one of the regions involved in mood regulation. A course of rTMS consists of daily sessions for several weeks. rTMS typically has a 50 – 60% response rate on those who have tried psychotropic medication unsuccessfully. For patients who are responders, outcomes typically include improvements in mood, energy and concentration.

Referral process

The rTMS program accepts referrals from family doctors, nurse practitioners and psychiatrists for rTMS eligibility assessment of patients with treatment resistant depression. To refer a patient, please complete our referral form (attached and available on Accuro). Also include a list of the patients’ current medications (including past trials and reasons for discontinuation) and any other relevant reports or documents. These can be faxed to 2042338051.

Some exclusion criteria include:

  • Being on a high dose of a benzodiazepine (lorazepam 2 mg/​day or higher, or equivalent dose for other benzodiazepines).
  • Active substance use disorder (except for cannabis and tobacco)
  • Active psychotic symptoms (including major depressive disorder with psychotic features)
  • Active suicidal ideation
  • Major active or ongoing medical or neurological disorders (recent stroke, malignant brain tumor, pacemaker, etc.).

For more information contact the program at rtms@​sbgh.​mb.​ca. Additional information and referral form can be found here.

Or you can read the information provided by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) | CAMH

Fantastic Physicians

Congratulations to Dr. Catherine Cook, who will retire at the end of this month. Through her more than 30 years of at UM she has made an indelible impact working with First Nations, Métis, Inuit, provincial and federal governments, as well as community organizations, to champion the importance of health services for Indigenous Manitobans. One of the highlights of Dr. Cook’s career was establishing the Ongomiizwin — Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing. Congratulations Dr. Cook! Enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

Congratulations to third-year medical student Mirha Zohair for receiving the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award for Medical Students. Mirha has faced Islamophobia and discrimination, and these experiences have led to her advocacy work as the equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) representative for the Manitoba Medical Students’ Association and vice-stick EDI senior.

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! You can always review upcoming events on our events calendar page.

DRMB Book Club — March 7, 2024 — 7 – 8pm

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.

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.

Immunotherapy Toxicity — Community Oncology Rounds 2023 – 2024 Webinar — January 24, 20248 – 9am

Dr. Vallerie Gordon will be discussing Immunotherapy Toxicity. To join this session, you must register beforehand via Zoom to receive the instructions and link to join the Zoom Webinar. By attending this event you are eligible for 1.0 MainPro credit. Please click here to register. 

If you have questions about Community Oncology Rounds or Cases in Cancer, registering, or questions for our presenters on the topic, please send your questions to CCMBPrimaryCareEducation@​cancercare.​mb.​ca.