Please be advised that our annual membership renewals, which are normally sent around August 1, will be delayed this year. You will receive your membership renewal early September, and the 30-day deadline to pay will be adjusted as well.
We are sending our membership renewals out later this year as we work on the final stages of our new member portal. Designed based on member feedback, you will be able to log in, renew your membership, update your personal information, and view member-only content like a new uninsured services guide. This fall we will add new features allowing you to manage your insurance, benefits and connect with other members in a discussion forum.
This year, a Doctors Manitoba membership will cost $1,845. This completes a two-year increase to membership fees approved by the Board last year (see the President letter explaining the increase here). This will be only the third increase in fees over the last fifteen years, with our membership fee remaining well below the average for all provincial medical associations of $2250.
We also want to let you know how 100% of the fee increase is being invested directly into the priorities identified by our members. We are expanding our services, increasing our public advocacy, and funding more staff positions to serve and represent you better. Here are key updates on how these investments are delivering results for members:
Physician Health and Wellness. In our survey last year, 89% of members said they wanted more resources for physician health. This year, our survey found concerning levels of burnout, depression and recent suicidal ideation. As a result, we are expanding physician health supports, including expansions for MDCare and Physicians at Risk, as well as new CBTm and peer support services. We opened a new office for Physicians at Risk, extended peer support to Rural and Northern areas, and enhanced access to urgent independent medical exams. Learn more in this recent President’s Letter.
Support for the business side of medicine, including during audits: 88% of members wanted to see Doctors Manitoba offer more support on the business side of practicing medicine, and 86% of members wanted us to expand our capacity to support members through government audits into their billings. We have added a new staff member to our negotiations team, and we’ve initially focused business support and guidance on pandemic-related issues. Our expanded negotiations team is also actively preparing right now to negotiate the next Master Agreement for physicians. We are also supporting several members through government audits, and we are ready should more members face audits as some elected officials have suggested could be coming as they add more auditors. If you need assistance in any of these areas, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Increase public awareness and advocacy activities: 80% of members wanted to see us continue and expand our public awareness campaigns. We hear regularly from members who want us to advocate about a variety of issues and priorities. Based on member feedback in this year’s survey, we are focusing our public awareness campaigns and advocacy on the issues you’ve identified as priorities, with more campaigns starting this fall. All of this work is helping to profile how physicians care deeply about the health and wellness of Manitobans, while also putting physician priorities centre stage. We are using these resources to focus public awareness on priority issues like prevention and living healthy, the pandemic backlog, and more. Just last month, our advocacy work helped to convince the province to withdraw a record keeping regulation that would have added 72 more minutes per day in additional documentation!
New to Practice Webinars in September
Starting your practice is a major milestone for young physicians, and this milestone has only become more complex during COVID-19. We’re here to help you navigate this transition in your journey as a physician. This webinar is intended for physicians in their first five years of practice, residents who are approaching the end of their residency, and physicians who have recently relocated their practice to Manitoba. These annual sessions will cover:
What Doctors Manitoba offers you
Benefit, rebates and insurance options for physicians
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you have specific questions, you can send them in advance to PracticeAdvice@doctorsmanitoba.ca or ask them live during our webinar.
Public Health posts weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Reports on Thursdays. This week’s report covers the week ending July 23, and is now showing“increased activity” after“decreased activity” last week. Highlights include:
Severe outcomes from COVID-19 increased compared to the previous week. There were 45 hospital admissions, down from 52 the week before. This includes 8ICU admissions, up from 2 the previous week. Hospital admissions last peaked at 264 the week ending April 16.
There were 3 deaths recorded, up from 2 the previous week. There have now been 2,061 deaths related to COVID-19.
There were 242 lab-confirmed cases reported in Manitoba over the week, up from from 171 the previous week. The test positivity rate was 17.1%, up from 13.9% .
The updated wastewater surveillance dashboard for the city of Winnipeg continues to show low levels of COVID-19 circulating, though there appears to be potential increases in the most recent week, ending July 21.
Last week we shared updates about the infant — pediatric COVID vaccine now available for young children age 6 months to 4 years. Limited supplies mean the vaccine is still being prioritized for children most at risk, though this is expected to change very soon as more doses are received in Manitoba.
We also shared Public Health guidance on counselling patients looking for second booster shots. It is midsummer, and planning is underway for a fall immunization campaign with a potential Omicron booster on the way. While the BA.4 and BA.5 are circulating and cases may be starting to rise, it is important to help patients weigh the risks and benefits of getting a second booster now:
It is“unclear how effective a booster with the current vaccine will work against” the Omicron variants now circulating. A bivalent vaccine is currently being reviewed by Health Canada that is likely more effective against these newer variants.
NACI has recommended boosters this fall, with a recommended interval of three to six months from the last dose. A mid-summer booster dose could delay being eligible for a new bivalent vaccine this fall.
Each individual patient’s circumstances should be considered as physicians counsel their patients.
While some provinces have expanded access to second boosters to adults younger than age 50, others including Manitoba have not expanded access citing the evidence guiding the advice above. Manitoba’s current eligibility guidelines are very similar to the U.S., where efforts are being made to have an Omicron booster ready by mid-September.
Public Health has published a patient information sheet, available here, which physicians can use with patients.
To Boost or Not to Boost
Dr. Dawn Bowdish from McMaster University will be hosting an immunology webinar next week about the value of boosting now or later in the face of an emerging seventh wave. All physicians are welcome to register.
Please keep in mind that McMaster is located in Ontario which may be experiencing a seventh wave earlier and of a different magnitude than here in Manitoba. The advice on the timing of boosters could be affected by the timing of seventh waves.
We are putting out a last call to physicians and medical clinics to ensure you submit claims for additional vaccine funding, over and above what you can claim through fee-for-service tariffs. Doctors Manitoba negotiated additional funding for outreach to patients and to support holding scheduled vaccine clinics. Don’t leave this funding on the table! The provincial funding covers patient outreach and vaccine clinic activities up to March 31, 2022. You can access information about the initiative, learn about eligible expenses, and register and submit claims through Doctors Manitoba.
Health System Updates
Pope Francis issued a historic apology on Monday for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s “catastrophic” policy of Indigenous residential schools, admitting that the forced assimilation of Indigenous Peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations. This “penitential pilgrimage” across the country may be a step towards healing & reconciliation for many Indigenous people, but it may also be challenging for Survivors, their families and communities. The apology is being met with mixed reactions, especially among Indigenous, First Nation, Métis and Inuits communities. Physicians may need to assist patients who are triggered or retraumatized by these events. There continues to be support available 24/7 through the Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1−866−925−4419 or the Hope for Wellness Line: 1−855−242−3310.
Dr. Peter Nickerson selected as next Dean of Health Sciences and Medicine
The University of Manitoba announced today that Dr. Peter Nickerson has been appointed the new Dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and of the Max Rady College of Medicine. Dr. Nickerson is a clinical nephrologist and medical director for Transplant Manitoba among several other important roles. He received the Doctors Manitoba Scholastic Award in 2014. His five year term begins September 1. He takes over from Dr. Brian Postl, recipient of our Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Postl retired in June but remains in the role until Dr. Nickerson’s term begins in September. Read more here.
Registration Open for Flu Vaccine Ordering
All physicians and medical clinics interested in offering flu shots this year should register by August 15. Manitoba Health listened to advice from Doctors Manitoba and our members and this year they are introducing a better and more equitable method to deliver influenza vaccines to clinics and pharmacies. Modeled after the COVID-19 vaccine ordering and delivering system, all clinics and pharmacies will be on a level playing field, rather than a rotational staggered system that left some clinics waiting four to six weeks to get their doses.
The Manitoba government is launching a new pilot project to bring retinal specialists to Dauphin once a month to provide care for residents in the community and surrounding region at Ashcroft Vision Care. The new program will be especially beneficial to patients who must travel to Winnipeg once a month for injections and currently face barriers due to a lack of access to care close to home including limited transportation options and additional expenses. This pilot project is in alignment with Manitoba’s Clinical and Preventive Services Plan’s goal to provide care closer to home. Read more here.
Specialty Infant Formula Available through pharmacies
Manitoba Health wants to ensure parents and caregivers of babies using medically necessary specialty formula are aware it can often be obtained by special order at pharmacies.With an ongoing shortage of specialty infant formula expected to last several months, parents and caregivers should speak with their health-care provider to have their baby’s health and formula needs reassessed. The special order program is only for specialty formula for babies with allergies and certain medical conditions, as there is no shortage of regular powdered infant formula in Canada. Read more here.
Shared Health Exploring Private Nursing Options
Shared Health has released a request for information to private nursing agencies to better understand the nursing labour market and to inform planning for backup nursing across the health care system. The move has been criticized politically as a symptom of bigger nursing shortage issues with suggestions the government wants to expand the use of private agency nurses. Shared Health ruled this out, saying the purpose was to obtain more information to reduce the reliance on private nurses while standardizing the use of private nurses by health system employers. Read more here.
Multiple Myeloma Awareness
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological cancer associated with significant symptomatic burden. Bone disease, renal insufficiency, cytopenias, infection, and peripheral neuropathy, among other disease manifestations and complications, impair patients’ quality of life. The Canadian Myeloma Research Group Consensus Guideline Consortium, formerly Myeloma Canada Research Network Consensus Guideline Consortium, proposes national consensus recommendations for the management of MM-related manifestations and complications. To address the needs of Canadian physicians and people living with MM across the country, this document focuses on the improvement and maintenance of patient care by clarifying best-practice approaches for the prevention, detection and management of disease manifestations and complications. The Canadian Myeloma Research Group Consensus Guideline Consortium will periodically review the recommendations herein and update as necessary.
In response to a report from the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, CMA announces its support of recommendations to prohibit forced and coerced sterilization in Canada and enhance training and regulation of medical professionals to halt these practices in the future.
Transition to Practice Summer Virtual Session (designed for residents and early career physicians but for anyone who wants this information, sessions are led by physicians)
Influencing Up — Discusses the importance‘influence’ in health care and how physicians can use influence to initiate positive change even when there is a relative absence of seniority or formal power (July 28, 8:00 — 10:00 p.m. CST)
Free, On-Demand (self-led) Modules (for all physicians)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with mindfulness (CBTm) for Physicians & Medical Learners
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness (CBTm) for Physicians and Medical Learners is a set of courses designed to offer education and skills training in evidence-based self-management strategies to support the mental wellbeing of physicians and medical learners, delivered in a supportive peer environment.