Join us Saturday, May 13 to celebrate the medical profession, to honour the 2023 Doctors Manitoba Award Winners, and to recognize the dedication of all of Manitoba’s physicians. This is an excellent opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the province. We will see our incoming President, Dr. Michael Boroditsky, receive the chains of office and offer his inaugural remarks. You can read about this year’s stellar award winners here.
Join us on Thursday, May 11 at 6:30PM for our Annual General Meeting! This year’s AGM will include a vote on foundational changes to our by-laws. The aim is to strengthen our decision making, ensuring members are at the heart of everything we do. The changes also seek to modernize our governance, including supporting a Board that is more inclusive and representative of our broader membership, including members’ professional and personal attributes.
The AGM is hybrid, with virtual and in-person options to attend. All attendees will be entered into a door prize draw for a $500 Visa Gift Card.
→ Learn more and register for the Annual General Meeting here. This includes the agenda and proposed By-Law amendments.
New CMA President-Elect
Congratulations to Dr. Joss Reimer who has been nominated as the Canadian Medical Association’s next president-elect. Dr. Reimer’s goal is for physicians is to have the resources, support, respect and autonomy needed to thrive in their practices and find joy in their work. Pending ratification at the CMA’s Annual General Meeting, Dr. Reimer
will serve as president-elect from Aug. 16, 2023 until May 2024, when she will then become CMA president. Dr. Reimer received the Doctors Manitoba Humanitarian Award last year for her leadership and dedication with the COVID immunization efforts. Doctors Manitoba also wants to recognize the other excellent candidates who put their names forward: Dr. Cory Baillie, Dr. Anthony Battad and Dr. José François. Read the CMA’s news release here.
Women in Medicine Day
Tomorrow is the third annual Canadian Women Physicians’ Day! March 11 was selected to celebrate Canadian Women Physicians to honour the first woman licensed to practice in Canada, Dr. Jennie Trout, who received her medical license on this day in 1875. It follows International Women’s Day, held on March 8.
Twenty years ago, only 26% of physicians in Manitoba were women. Today, they make up nearly 40%. This is a significant improvement over two decades, especially when looking at younger physicians. Among resident physicians and medical students, about half are women. Women physicians are also taking on more leadership roles. Right now, for example, the Presidents of Doctors Manitoba and CPSM, the new Manitoba President-Elect Nominee for CMA, CMO for WRHA, CEO of CCMB, Registrar of CPSM, and many others senior medical leadership roles are held by women physicians. The Doctors Manitoba Board of Directors achieved gender parity last year, contrasted with women making up just 15% of the Board 10 years ago.
Despite this progress, inequities remain and the profession is far from inclusive. In our annual member survey last year, 47% of women physicians reported being mistreated by colleagues and 43% by leadership. These rates are three times higher than those reported by male physicians, and they are even higher among women who identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour (BIPOC). That same survey found that women identified significant inequities in many areas:
- 53% reported inequities in recruitment opportunities
- 64% reported inequities in medical leadership
- 47% reported inequities in remuneration
These rates were more than double those reported by their male colleagues. What’s more, our preliminary analysis of 2021/22 physician remuneration in Manitoba found a pay gap of about 30% between male and female physicians.
Doctors Manitoba continues to advocate for an inclusive and equitable medical profession as part of our mandate to strengthen and support the whole physician. That includes new proposed by-laws to strengthen our governance and support a more diverse and representative Board of Directors. Learn more about the proposed changes and register for the Annual General Meeting here.
This year, the Canadian Women in Medicine are asking everyone to celebrate Canadian Women Physicians’ Day by saying thank you to a woman physician, and posting on social media to express your support and appreciation using #WomenDocsCan.
Physician of the Week
Our Physician of the Week Dr. Lauren MacKenzie is a strong advocate for her patients and wears many hats in her work as Infectious Disease Specialist. She splits her clinical time between the inpatient Adult Infectious Diseases service at HSC and St. Boniface, and the outpatient HIV clinic at HSC. Dr. MacKenzie is the Associate Director of the Manitoba HIV Program and works in research with a focus on improving the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections. Her multidisciplinary team and researchers at UM produced the 2018 – 2021 HIV Program report which is now being used to advocate for important HIV Program initiatives that will strengthen and improve HIV care in the province. Read more about Dr. MacKenzie here.
For 2023, Doctors Manitoba has established a new way to recognize dedicated and hardworking physicians. Our Physician of the Week initiative has been recognizing physicians weekly. They exemplify the best of the medical profession, including a commitment to delivering exceptional patient care, to supporting the health and wellness of their colleagues, and/or to leadership in the medical profession.
Group CME Grants Available!
After a successful pilot in 2022, the Board of Directors has approved Group CME proposals be included as part of the overall Doctors Manitoba CME Rebate Program. This group learning initiative provides grants up to $20,000 for projects that deliver continuing medical education to a group or team of physicians in Manitoba. A total of $450,000 will be available in three different streams: GFT physicians, Rural and Northern Physicians, and Community-Based physicians. Any eligible physician in Manitoba can apply.
Applications will be approved as they are received. The grants can cover eligible expenses for accredited continuing medical education that occurs 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.
You can learn more about the new CME grant initiative here, or contact Barry Hallman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Earlier this week, the Manitoba government tabled its budget for the 2023/24 fiscal year. The budget included a significant increase in funding for health care, including $668 million or a 9.2% increase, partially fueled by increased federal health funding.
Our President Dr. Candace Bradshaw was at the Legislature to hear the budget speech delivered, meet with political leaders, and offered her analysis on the budget. She spoke with several journalists about how encouraging it is to see an overdue significant increase in health funding, but how disappointed she is not to see anything specific in the budget to address the physician shortage or to support physicians in delivering care to patients. See or watch this story from Global TV. For example, the Physician Recruitment and Retention Program has its funding frozen again, for the fifth year in a row, after funding was cut by $1.6 million in 2017.
It is not uncommon for some aspects of the budget not to be defined or specified on budget day. Doctors Manitoba will be following up to request more details and strongly advocate for an appropriate portion of health funding to support physician practices.
The budget has, so far, outlined some priority areas:
- $123 million for the continued implementation of the Health Human Resource Action Plan, which we anticipate will include support for physicians.
- $130 million to continue catching up on the surgical and diagnostic pandemic backlog.
- $120 million for Pharmacare, including expanding insulin pump coverage to eligible adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (see Health System Updates for further details)
- Creating a new hearing aid program for seniors
- Significant capital investments for renovations at HSC, including ED and emergency psychiatry, CancerCare Manitoba, new hospitals in Portage la Prairie and Neepawa, a new ED at St. Boniface, and other projects, most of which have been previously announced.
Health System Updates
EIA Disability Program Changing April 1
Manitoba’s Employment and Income Assistance Program for Manitobans with Disabilities is changing effective April 1. Physicians play a pivotal role in establishing the medical basis for eligibility, so these changes will be important for you to know.
Currently, EIA Disability is open to individuals with both life-long and shorter term disabilities or medical conditions that prevent employment for 90 days or more. Starting April 1, this will be transformed into two new programs:
- Manitoba Supports for Persons with Disabilities: Clients must be financially eligible and have prolonged and severe disability. A prolonged disability is one expected to be permanent, and a severe disability is one that results in barriers that significantly limit their activities of daily living or full participation in society.
- EIA Medical Barriers to Full Employment: Clients must be financially eligible and have a disability or medical condition that prevents them from working for more than one year, but is not expected to be lifelong or considered severe.
With these changes will come a new disability impact assessment form, with a medical component. We understand more information on this new form should be available shortly. Doctors Manitoba understands the existing EIA Disability form is an administrative burden for many physicians, and we have advocated for a simpler, streamlined approach based on only the “need-to-know” information.
While the new structure for income assistance in Manitoba does not eliminate the need for a medical assessment, the new Disability Impact Assessment has some characteristics designed to lower demands on the medical system in the long run, including the following:
- Once confirmed, eligibility for Manitoba Supports is permanent, as long as a household remains financially eligible. No medical reassessments will be required.
- The revised criteria for Medical Barriers to Full Employment will eliminate the occurrence of medical reassessments in less than 12 months from the initial assessment.
Approximately 20,000 Manitobans participated in the EIA Disability program. Some have already been transitioned to the new Manitoba Supports program. Others may require an assessment to establish their eligibility. Starting April 1, existing clients and new applicants will be able to apply to Manitoba Supports.
Physicians and other health practitioners have been consulted about the existing EIA medical assessment form, and the DIA medical report has been designed to reduce ambiguity and any need for follow-up information once the report has been submitted.
We will share additional information about the changes to the program and the new form before April 1. You can also learn more here about Manitoba Supports. We anticipate the Department of Families will post information about EIA Medical Barriers to Full Employment soon.
Adult Insulin Pump Coverage
As part of the 2023/24 provincial budget, the province announced that it will expand coverage for insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors for eligible adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The current eligibility is limited to those aged 25 and under. We understand the new broader eligibility began on Tuesday, though patients cannot yet apply.
While the expanded coverage is great news for patients, we are awaiting details about the potential impact on physicians. We understand Shared Health is working on new clinical practice guidelines and other details. In the meantime, please send us any concerns you have about the impact on physicians at email@example.com.
IMGs Can Work Sooner in MB
Today the province announced the approval of regulatory changes that allow international medical graduates (IMGs) to enter the health-care workforce sooner. Amendments to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM) General Regulation remove the requirement for IMGs in specific membership classes to pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying ExamPart 1 (MCCQE1) before registering and practicing in Manitoba. The government explained that eliminating this exam requirement removes a significant and unnecessary barrier for those seeking to practice in Manitoba without compromising patient safety and care, adding that existing processes and policies will continue to support patient safety and care including competence assessments and practice supervision requirements. Doctors Manitoba has advocated for improvements to streamline the process for IMGs to have their credentials assessed and begin practicing in Manitoba. We are curious what you think of this change, and what more needs to be done to support IMG transition to practice in Manitoba. Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Respiratory Virus Updates
Manitoba Public Health produces a weekly report on respiratory viruses. Below are highlights from this week’s report.
This week’s report covers the week ending March 4. The monitoring suggests increasing COVID activity. Highlights include:
There were 59 hospital admissions, up from 56 last week. This week included 8 ICU admissions, up from 9. Weekly hospital admissions last peaked at 264 in the week ending April 16, 2022.
There were 2 COVID deaths recorded over the last week, down from 3 last week.
There were 150 lab-confirmed cases reported in Manitoba, up from 124 last week.
The test positivity rate was 14.2%, down from 12.6% last week.
Wastewater surveillance data up to February 27 indicated sustained activity of COVID-19 in Winnipeg and Brandon at lower levels compared to the fall of 2022. However, there was an increase in activity from early February.
This week’s report shows similar influenza activity. Highlights include:
The predominant strain circulating right now is still Influenza A (H3N2), with 2 lab confirmed case and there was 1 case of Influenza B reported. For the flu season the total cases of Influenza A is 2,628 and Influenza B is 54.
There were no hospital admissions as a result of flu/RSV.
There were 1,366 respiratory related visits to EDs in the province this week, down from 1,369 from last week.
Test positivity rates for both RSV and Influenza A and B were not reported this week.
Here are some of our top recent posts, in case you missed them:
- More funding to address the physician shortage was announced two weeks ago.
- Following our advocacy, the province announced a new Joint Task Force to Reduce Physician Administrative Burden
- The College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba is proposing an expanded scope of practice for its members, including ordering x‑rays to support making a physiotherapy diagnosis. Doctors Manitoba is preparing a response. Learn more here and let us know what you think.
- Last week’s Health System Bulletins included important updates about STI medications now available in eChart, a reminder about changes to health card numbers and a CME survey for specialists from the UM CPD department.
We’ve got Important Reminders for Virtual Visits, most notably a reminder that it is individual physicians’ responsibility to meet the requirements for both Manitoba Health billing and CPSM standards.
Upcoming events are always listed on our events calendar.
2023 DRMB AGM — Thursday, May 11 6:30pm- 20 Desjardins Drive Winnipeg or VirtuallyThis year’s hybrid AGM will include a vote on foundational changes to our by-laws. The aim is to strengthen our decision making, ensuring members are at the heart of everything we do. The changes also seek to modernize our governance, including supporting a Board that is more inclusive and representative of our broader member, including members’ professional and personal attributes. All attendees will be entered into a door prize draw for a $500 Visa Gift Card. Learn more and register.
2023 Doctors Manitoba Awards Gala — Saturday, May 13 6pm — RBC Convention CentreJoin us Saturday, May 13 to celebrate the medical profession, to honour the 2023 Doctors Manitoba Award Winners, and to recognize the dedication of all of Manitoba’s physicians. This is an excellent opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the province. We will see our incoming President, Dr. Michael Boroditsky, receive the chains of office and offer his inaugural remarks. Learn more and order your tickets.
CFMS & Doctors Manitoba — Insurance for Residents — April 3, 2023 | 6 – 7pm
Matched to Manitoba? As a new resident, Doctors Manitoba provides compulsory lifestyle insurance to meet your needs. Find out whats included and how to sign up. Join us for this informative session. Topics will include:
- Welcome to Doctors Manitoba
- Insurance and Risk Management ?
- What is Life, Disability, and Accident Insurance — what am I signing up for ?
- What else does Doctors Manitoba provide ?
- I matched to another Province, now what ?
Please email Mark Venton, Insurance Coordinator at mventon@DoctorsManitoba.ca if you have any questions.
- MD Financial Management — Tax filing information session — March 16 6:00pm