In today’s message you will find:

Expanding Our Team to Meet Your Needs

Bigger Team • Broader Skills • Better Support

This summer, we negotiated the largest Physician Services Agreement in Manitoba’s history, and also the most complex. Now, we’re creating a bigger team with a broader skill set to better support our members with compensation expertise, practice advice, and advocacy. 

Our new Practice Advice and Compensation Team will include:

  • Ian Foster as Director, bringing his 29 years of experience and leadership to the role.
  • Roger Jamieson continues as Medical Remuneration Officer, leveraging his 25 years of expertise in physician compensation and personalized member support. 
  • Braden Kalichuk continues as Medical Remuneration Officer, working through the complex issues physicians are facing every day.
  • Aiyana Crolly joins the team as Practice Advice Associate, taking a lead in responding to individual physician questions and concerns related to compensation and other practice concerns. 

We are also in the process of adding additional positions to support the team. These include:

  • Practice Advisor, a new senior role to provide education, coaching and advice to physicians about running their practice including remuneration optimization as well as other professional obligations.
  • New to Practice Coordinator, a new role focused on helping physicians transition into new practices and to ensure success in their first few years. 
  • Economic and Physician Resource Analyst, a new role to help us leverage data analysis to fuel our negotiations and advocacy.

As well, Keir Johnson’s role will expand to Director of Strategy, Advocacy and Communications as he supports this team’s work with strategic advice and advocacy. He and Ian will serve as co-leads for negotiations. 

Also continuing to support this team are Andrew Swan, General Counsel and lead on legal aspects of physician compensation, audit and contract issues, and Cheryl Bezte, Administrative Assistant. 

As this bigger team takes shape, we are also announcing the departure of Allison Crolly and Kara Gray as they pursue opportunities outside of Doctors Manitoba. We thank Allison for her 17 years of service, during which time she provided billing and contract advice, drafted contracts and supported the negotiations process. We also thank Kara for her technical expertise and focus on listening to and advocating for our members during her tenure with Doctors Manitoba.

If you have any questions please contact the team at practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca or contact a team member directly:

Surgical and Diagnostic Task Force Wound Up

Changes to Physician Referrals

Today, Manitoba’s new Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara announced the conclusion of the Surgical and Diagnostic Recovery Task Force as the government shifts the focus to building new permanent capacity here in Manitoba. 

The most immediate impact is that patient referrals through the Task Force for special out-of-province contracts are no longer being accepted. Physicians are asked to revert to regular referral pathways and to stop referring patients to the Task Force and its patient portals. Patients already scheduled for a procedure through the Task Force will still get their surgery. You can see a memo from Manitoba Health about the change.

Proposals to the Task Force to add more capacity within Manitoba will still be considered by the health system as Manitoba Health reviews existing and pending decisions and approvals. 

The Minister thanked Task Force Chair Dr. Peter MacDonald for his service as they recognized the pandemic backlog the Task Force tackled during its tenure. 

Minister Asagwara explained that their government’s focus will be on building the solutions in the public system in Manitoba, not buying capacity in other provinces or even in other countries. Our focus will be on ensuring there is more equitable access to care for Manitobans.” 

As part of the shift in focus, the government announced several steps to building surgical and diagnostic capacity here in Manitoba:

  • A Mobile MRI will be acquired for Northern Manitoba, likely visiting Thompson, The Pas and Flin Flon and expected to perform up to 5,000 scans per year.
  • Additional spine surgery capacity will be added at HSC, Brandon and Concordia hospitals, which is expected to eliminate the backlog of 3,000 patients within a year.
  • Ten more surgery slates will be added at Grace Hospital along with five more surgical beds, including five slates for more arthroplasty procedures and five more for urology.

Doctors Manitoba supports this transition and the focus on building capacity in Manitoba. When we called for a task force over two years ago to address the massive surgical and diagnostic backlog created during the pandemic, we wanted to see as many home grown solutions as possible. We join the Minister in thanking those who have contributed to making progress on reducing the backlog, and we look forward to working with the province on building more capacity in Manitoba to eliminate the backlog once and for all.

Help Plan for the Future of Manitoba’s Physicians & Medical Learners

We want you to thrive and succeed while providing the best possible care to your patients. Our current strategic plan ends in 2024 and you can help shape our new strategic plan going forward. Taking part in this research workshop is the opportune time for physicians to help us to take a step back and examine who Doctors Manitoba is and how we need to grow to best serve physicians and medical learners in this ever-changing health care environment. We need your help to make us the medical association you and your colleagues need today and into the future. With the help of an independent consultant, providing us with honest feedback and perspectives, we will better understand where we are today and what we need to do to create a focused strategy that meets the needs of all our members. 

You will be joined by other physicians, residents, medical students, Doctors Manitoba staff, and leadership. Your commitment to attending is very important to us. Participants will be working in small groups and discussing provocative questions that explore the Doctor’s Manitoba strategy from many angles and identify different paths to move forward. All information gathered will be kept confidential and anonymous. 

Please join us in-person or virtually for engaging research workshop from 6 – 9pm on Thursday, November 23. A light dinner will be served at 5pm for those attending in person at the Masonic Memorial Centre (420 Corydon Avenue).

Please RSVP by clicking here and registering for the event. Access link for virtual attendees will be provided after registration.

Nominations Open for Doctors Manitoba Annual Awards

Our 2024 Awards Nominations are open! We are pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the 2024 Doctors Manitoba Awards! Nominations are due by December 42023.

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 are thinking about nominating someone, let us know as we may be able to help. Email Keir Johnson at kjohnson@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

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

Last call for 2023 submissions for Group CME Funding in the Rural and Northern Stream

Grants of up to $20,000 are available through Doctors Manitoba to support group continuing medical education initiatives for physicians. The 2023 Group CME Program was launched in April 2023 and is separate from your annual CME rebate. This group learning initiative provides grants for projects that deliver continuing medical education to a group or team of physicians in Manitoba. There is still significant funding available in the Rural and Northern physicians stream. Any eligible physician in Manitoba can apply but the CME Program must at least start in 2023.

Eligible applications will be approved as they are received on a first-come first-served basis. The grants can cover eligible expenses for accredited continuing medical education that begins in Manitoba before the end of 2023. Funds can be used to cover accreditation costs, speaker fees and accommodation or travel or other expenses necessary to deliver the education to a group or team of physicians. Previous grants have been provided for point-of-care ultrasound training, multi-topic primary care and surgical CME, and anti-racism CME.

You can learn more about the new CME grant initiative here, or contact Barry Hallman at benefits@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca for more information.

Special Opportunity for Health and Dental Insurance

We have opened up a special enrollment opportunity for members who want extended health and/​or dental insurance coverage!

We have a list of dozens of members who have requested an opportunity to apply for this insurance coverage, so we have worked with Blue Cross to opening up that opportunity for all members under age 70.

There are two optional insurance plans open for enrollment:

The deadline to apply is December 8, 2023. After that date, eligibility is limited to new members or those who lose other third-party insurance coverage. We have had a few open enrollments in recent years, so we anticipate it may be an extended period of time before the opportunity is available once again. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity during this open enrollment period.

Both of these plans have been designed by physicians for physicians as part of our larger suite of not-for-profit insurance options, including life, disability and overhead . This means we keep costs low, and any surpluses are returned to plan participants as rebates. Over 50% of our members have signed up for at least one of our insurance coverage options.

Physician of the Week

Dr. Manjit Sidhu is a family physician working in a clinical practice and as a hospitalist, spending one third of her work helping patients with addictions. She says the best part of her work is advocating for patients when they need mental health resources, rehabilitation for addictions, or financial resources to assist with health conditions. When patients make the important and sometimes difficult decision to seek care, she takes pride in her role in their health journey and in giving them the best care possible. Dr. Sidhu loves the variety of her work, is thankful that teaching keeps her on her toes and says practising medicine has brought a great sense of fulfilment to my life.”Colleague and friend, Dr. Jas Mancer applauds Dr. Sidhu’ collegiality, kindness and responsiveness. She says Dr. Sidhu hit the ground running right after training and hasn’t stopped since.”

Read more about Dr. Sidhu and other Physician of the Week features.

Health System Updates

COVID Rapid Test Order Change

Doctors’ offices can still order rapid test kits. Instead of ordering through Doctors Manitoba, you can now order directly through Shared Health. Please see our test kit page here for instructions. 

There is a minimum order of 1,000 kits to receive free delivery. If you don’t require 1,000 kits, consider combining your order with nearby clinic.

IPV Eligibility Update

Please be advised that eligibility criteria for children and youth less than 18 years of age for Inactivated Polio Virus (IPV) immunizations has been updated to define who would be considered unimmunized or incompletely immunized.

  • Any individual lacking adequate documentation of IPV immunization should be considered unimmunized and started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors.
  • Individuals who have received only Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) vaccine after April 1, 2016 without following receipt of at least two doses of IPV should be considered incompletely immunized and receive IPV-containing vaccine. 

Please refer to the updated Recommended Immunization Schedule for Individuals Not Previously Immunized available here.

Radon Action Month

November is Radon Action Month (November is Radon Action Month — Take Action on Radon). You may have seen some social media messaging from the Manitoba Government and other organizations such as Health Canada, the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST), the Canadian Lung Association, the Manitoba Lung Association, or CancerCare Manitoba. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is naturally occurring and ubiquitous in most areas of the world. Manitoba has high levels of radon compared to other provinces. Health Canada estimates nearly 20% of Manitoba homes may have elevated levels of radon – and in some parts of our province, this rate is even higher (see Appendix).

Why is this a health issue?

  • Radon gas is a lung carcinogen and is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
  • Radon gas can seep into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, openings around pipes, or through any other entry points.
  • It can accumulate to levels in a building that increase the risk of lung cancer with long term exposure.
  • Smokers exposed to radon are at particularly high risk.
  • According to Health Canada, radon exposure is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Approximately 16% of lung cancers are estimated to be from radon exposure, resulting more than 3,000 lung cancer deaths in Canada each year (Radon — What you need to know ‑Cana​da​.ca).

How can we address it?

  • Raise awareness amongst your patients to consider testing for radon in their home. Smokers are at particularly high risk.
  • Testing is accessible and relatively inexpensive (about $65) (Manitoba — Take Action on Radon) and involves placing a detector in the lowest occupied level of a home (often the basement) for 3 to 6 months over the winter months to assess the average radon level
  • If a home is found to have elevated radon (>200 Bq/​m 3), remediation should occur. Health Canada has clear guidelines on remediation (Radon — Reduction Guide for Canadians ‑Cana​da​.ca).
  • The most effective remediation is sub-slab depressurization whereby a pipe is inserted just below the foundation and a fan vents the radon to the outside before it can enter the home.
  • There is a significant cost to do this work. However financial supports do exist including an energy finance plan from MB Hydro (Energy Finance Plan) and a grant from the Lung Association for low- or moderate-income households (Lungs Matter: Radon Mitigation Support | Canadian Lung Association).
  • NOTE: There are no specific laws in Manitoba that require private landlords to test for radon or make repairs. If your patient rents, they could ask their landlord to test for radon. If the landlord refuses, they could test for radon themselves. If the results say that their rental home does have an elevated level of radon, they could request that their landlord hire a radon mitigation contractor.

Resources for Health Professionals:

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!

Indigenous Skin Spectrum Summit — virtually on Saturday, November 25, 2023 9 AM CST

This summit touches on highly practical information relevant to students, communities, healthcare practitioners, policy and decision makers and more who are interested in closing gaps in Indigenous health disparities.

Lunchtime Webinar: Boundaries — The New Self Care (November 20th, Noon — 1:00 pm)

Being a physician is challenging with huge responsibility and often unrealistic expectations. Saying no is neither encouraged nor part of medical training and most physicians by nature have trouble setting limits, yet the consequences over time lead to depletion, anger/​resentment, entitlement, deterioration in health/​relationships and numbing behavior. Learn how to recognize these issues and practical ways to set limits. Open to all DRMB members. Facilitated by Tom Lloyd, MD and Dawn Martin, PhD.

Register Now (or explore other offerings in the Physician Leadership Practical Skills Series)

DRMB Book Club! — November 20 — 7 – 8:30pm

The Doctors Manitoba Physician Health and Wellness committee is excited to invite you to an opportunity for building connection and community in medicine. Join us for the third virtual meeting of the Doctors Manitoba Book Club on Monday, November 20th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm. We will be reading the Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition​“Yellowface” by R.F Kuang. There will also be a chance for the group to discuss the book and share thoughts. Register Here!

Western University’s 1st Annual Physician Wellbeing Symposium — November 22, 2023 — 7 – 11am CT

Register here for the free, virtual symposium showcasing Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s systems-based scholarly wellbeing initiatives. See the agenda & poster for more information.

Women in Medicine Retreat (Nov 3 – 5, Gimli) — This retreat, focusing on wellness and professional development, is open to practicing women physicians and residents. An initiative led by Dr. Astrid Guenther, the agenda includes Cultivating Self-Compassion to Heal from Shame (3.5 CME), yoga, mindfulness, networking, and is fully catered. For more information, contact astridsantin@​gmail.​com by October 13 (limited spots available).

Other Events