Happy Holidays from Doctors Manitoba
Life has not been easy these last two years and doctors have seen the worst of what this pandemic has dealt to Manitobans. You deserve a break, and time away from caring for others. With Omicron making its way through Manitoba, it has many in the medical community, and Manitobans more broadly, worried about what that might mean for the health care system. You may have feelings of anxiety about what the next few months will look like. Your health and wellness is important to us. If you are able, we encourage members to take time this holiday season to recharge and to connect with a peer. We hope you’re able to safely connect with loved ones in the next few weeks and find a bit of time for yourself.
If you are one of the many physicians who will be working to keep care accessible to Manitobans throughout the holiday season, thank you. We hope you’ll find a way to take some time over the next few weeks too.
If you need assistance, we suggest contacting one of the wellness programs supported by Doctors Manitoba. You can find tips for staying well here, and look through additional wellness resources we have curated for our members. You can use our Guide to Staying Well During the Pandemic to help you get through these coming months. Above all else, remember that we are here to support you and advocate for you, every step of the way.
The Doctors Manitoba office will have reduced staffing over the holidays but please continue to contact us with any urgent issues. You can also monitor us on Twitter for any important COVID-19 updates.
2021 Top Ten
It’s been a busy year, hasn’t it? It has been our privilege to support physicians across Manitoba as they navigated 2021. It’s been a year filled with ups and downs, disruptions and uncertainty. We’ve been with you every step of the way, inspired by how you’ve stepped up to continue caring for your patients.
Below you’ll find a top 10 of the most helpful resources we produced for you and your patients, based on how many times they’ve been accessed.
As we look ahead to 2022, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for what we can do to ensure you have the support you need to continue to deliver exceptional care.
10. Our Member Newsletters
What started as daily messages at the beginning of the pandemic has become weekly messages as we try to respect our busy members’ inboxes. We are doing our best to curate the most relevant updates to physicians’ practices, whether that is focused on the pandemic and vaccines, or other issues in the health care system. The “most read” messages of the year were from just a few days ago, including our News Flash about the new restrictions on December 17. Though there were also a lot of messages last winter, like when restrictions were extended on January 8 and we had new vaccine plan information. If you have suggestions for content in our member newsletters, please let us know!
9. Billing Advice
We maintain dozens of articles with advice about fee-for-service billing based on the most common questions from physicians. You will find articles about on-call billing, visits, claims and information specific to different areas of practice. There is also a page on disputes, an increasing concern as the government shifted its focus over the last year to more frequent audits of physicians’ billings.
Our negotiations and practice advice team keeps this information updated for you, and they are available to assist with additional questions or concerns. Remember, if your billing is audited, contact us first.
8. Celebrating our 2021 Award Winners
We had a lot of interest when we first announced our 2021 winners back in May, and then again this fall when we gathered to celebrate our the award recipients. This group of physicians included doctors who have helped protect Manitobans from COVID-19, and others who have continued to care for their patients despite the disruptions and uncertainty the pandemic has caused. Read the full recap here or watch a video featuring all the award recipients here.
7. Practice Opportunities
Thousands have perused our practice opportunities, looking for a place to practice medicine. Today, there are 37 postings, including for the Chief Provincial Psychiatrist. You’ll also find other career resources in this section, like our rebooted mentorship program!
6. Pandemic Support
This past year we have had to pivot and work with government to continue to support your needs. We worked to secure isolation support, procure rapid COVID-19 tests and PPE, provide COVID-19 resources, advocate for expanded virtual care tariffs, and to underline the abuse and mistreatment that physicians have been facing in the past year.
We also developed a special Pandemic and Vaccine Education Rebate to recognize the unique pressure on physicians for continuing education right now. There are a few days left to apply for this rebate. Apply here.
5. Vaccine Resource Centre
We have been able to provide members with a number of resources and updated information for COVID-19 vaccines through our Vaccine Resource Centre. In addition to guidance and advice on offering the vaccine in clinics, working at immunization sites, and billing and remuneration, we developed an Immunization Tool Kit and other Resources, a Guide to Responding to Vaccine Hesitancy and we curated external Vaccine Resources.
There is a need right now for physicians to offer more vaccines in their practice. If you can help, please sign up and order more vaccine. There’s even special funding support available right now for physicians too.
4. Back-to-School Town Hall
With all the uncertainty in August with a potential fourth wave approaching, we held a Back-To-School Town Hall for parents, students and teachers. Our panel of physicians answered questions and offered concrete advice for both parents and schools. This complemented a series of other public Town Halls we did about the COVID-19 vaccines. All of these are available on-demand.
3. Pandemic Backlog Dashboard
This fall, we launched an online dashboard with our estimates of the backlog of surgeries and diagnostic tests that have accumulated during the pandemic. As of December, we estimate the backlog at over 152,000 cases.
This is an important part of our advocacy over the last year about this growing problem. In June, we recommended a task force be established by the government to lead clearing the backlog, and earlier this month the government finally acted.
While surgeries and tests are again being disrupted as hospital resources are diverted to support the COVID response, we’re continuing to monitor this issue that we know is not only important to surgeons, anesthesiologists and radiologists, but also to all physicians who have patients waiting for tests and procedures.
2. Increased Social Media Presence
We recognize that social media is an important tool to reach members and the public with helpful information and messages that show physicians care about the health and well-being of Manitobans. We increased our presence on Twitter and created FaceBook and Instagram accounts that have proven to be successful in reaching and engaging with Manitobans and our members. Tweets alone garnered 4.8 million impressions, or views.
Our top posts related to:
- Demonstrating physicians’ confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines
- COVID-19 Vaccine Alerts, notifying the public as they become eligible for the vaccine
- Celebrating our 2021 Award Winners
- Vaccine town halls
- Explaining daily vaccine numbers, which sometimes show more cases that are fully-vaccinated than unvaccinated
- Advocacy for rapid tests
On May 2, 2021 we launched ManitobaVaccine.ca to help offer Manitobans with a reliable source of information from physicians about the ever-changing and often confusing subject of COVID-19 vaccines. With more than 2.1 million visits to the site, it has been a big success. Over 300,000 Manitobans have checked their eligibility for first, second and booster doses. Over 300,000 have also used our Vaccine Finder map.
We’ve also helped connect Manitobans with answers to common questions. This includes sensitive topics, some of which are tied to a lot of misinformation circulating online, including about fetal cells, use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, as well as information on medication interactions and booster shot queries.