This past year was a busy one with lots of change and, we hope, steps in the right direction to better support you in the year ahead. We’ve prepared a year-in-review with a few of our members’ favourite posts and stories, hopes that this is news you can use in your practice. 

Before we get to our favourite things, the team at Doctors Manitoba wants to share our deep gratitude and appreciation for all you do for Manitobans. Some of us have needed medical care this year, and all of us have family and close friends who have relied on the care from a physician. We see your dedication in our personal lives, and this inspires us at work to find new and better ways to support you, every step of the way. Thank you, and we wish you a healthy 2024

New Physician Services Agreement

Be sure you aren’t leaving money on the table! 

This summer, members overwhelmingly voted to ratify the new four-year Physician Services Agreement. With $268 million in new funding over four years, this is, by far, the biggest agreement for physicians in Manitoba’s history. 

Here’s our top tips to ensure you are getting all of the benefits and remuneration increases negotiated for physicians:

  • Remuneration Increases: Last October, physicians received market adjustments for all tariffs and alternate funded agreements. This Agreement avoided cuts proposed by government on some tariffs well above the average of Ontario-Prairie provinces, with increases for those that had fallen behind. All tariffs and alternate funded agreements will receive a 2% annual increase on April 1 in 2024, 2025, and 2026. Check to ensure you’re receiving the increased competitive rates negotiated for your practice. 
  • Tariffs for Communication Between Providers – Our top new billing article was about the new and expanded suite of tariffs to recognize collaboration and communication between physicians and other providers, with 2,413 views. Are you making the most communication tariffs? Check out our top billing article of the year.
  • New Tariffs for Visits …. With 1,993 views this year. The top visit article was about extended visits, the first new visit tariff for family medicine and pediatrics in decades, followed closely by the new suite of permanent virtual visit tariffs.

Based on what we are seeing so far, we want to ensure members aren’t leaving money on the table. There are two new tariffs we want to ensure all members are aware of:

  • The Community-Based Practice Supplement applies to all in-person visits in community fee-for-service practices where overhead costs are incurred. Ensure your staff are claiming the $3.50 supplement for every in-person visit that qualifies. 
  • Every fee-for-service visit in hospital, including in ER and inpatient, is eligible for a 15% hospital premium. Be sure every eligible visit has the 15% premium added. 

Doc360 Physician Health Services

Support for all members and their family. 

Earlier this year, we launched Doc360, a simpler way to access our growing suite of physician health and well-being supports and resources. We have seen thousands of visits to our pages outlining the services available to all members, including physicians, students and residents, as well as how to access these services. Doc360 encompasses a range of services and initiatives for personal and professional well-being. From work-life to relationships to individual concerns, Doc360 supports the whole physician by giving you and your family the help you need, when you need it.

→ The easier way to access these services:

Online at Doc360​.ca

By calling toll-free 1 – 844-433-DRMB (3762) where a nurse coordinator will assist you in finding the program right for you. This phone line operates 24/7, and will continue to be open around the clock over the holiday season.

We’ve also secured additional funding to expand our peer support and counselling services through PAR. Learn more about what they offer here.

Celebrating Doctors More Than Ever

Hold the date for our 2024 Annual Awards Gala! 

This year, we have celebrated our members more than ever, with annual awards, our Top 40 Under 40, and Physician of the Week. These initiatives responded to what we heard from you, our members, that after a difficult pandemic we should lift each other up and recognize the amazing dedication and talent in the medical profession. 

Our Annual Awards Gala last May honoured nine incredible physicians, with over 550 people in attendance – a record high! The award winners accepted their honours with great humility and offered moving acceptance speeches. Their personal and professional stories were inspiring and their commitment to their patients and their colleagues was unquestionable. Read more about the winners here, and watch a short video about each winner on YouTube.

SAVE THE DATE! Our 2024 Annual Awards Gala will be held on Saturday, May 11 at the RBC Convention Centre. We have a long list of nominations submitted for our 2024 awards, and winners will be selected and announced in January.

We also created a special award this year to honour students, residents and early-career physicians. Our Top 40 Under 40 in Medicine featured an inspiring group, recognizing and celebrating their exceptional dedication, contributions, and potential. Learn more about our Top 40 and read about this amazing group!

Throughout the year, we have also been featuring a Physician the Week. Those recognized 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. Read more about the physicians we have featured throughout the year.

Bringing Members Together 

A return to events is helping to connect our members with each other. 

For the hundreds and hundreds of members who attended our events in 2023, it truly was a fun year! We love creating opportunities for you to meet and reconnect with colleagues from across the province, both in-person and virtually. 

This year, we’ve held several events for our mentorship program, our annual awards gala, a cocktail event in Brandon, a new book club and, a return of the Doctors Manitoba golf tournament! 

2024 Golf Tournament! Save the date! We are planning a golf tournament again this year. Pencil us in for Tuesday, September 3, 2024 at Southwood Golf and Country Club. 

→ Next virtual Book Club meeting is on March 7 at 7PM and all members are welcome. This meeting will focus on 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. Learn more and register here!

Benefits – Protected and Expanded

Ensure you’ve claimed all the benefits you are eligible for in 2023

While some physician benefit programs have been cut or eliminated in other provinces, our team was able to not only protect your benefits while negotiating our new Physician Services Agreement, we were able to expand benefits as well. You will see enhancements to your rebates for CMPA and continuing professional development, maternal and parental leave, and a new retention benefit created to recognize continued service in rural and northern Manitoba. Plus, we have special rebates this year, such as the $21,000 Special Retention Payment, and the CPSM Fee Rebate. 

Here are a few reminders to ensure you aren’t missing the opportunity to claim benefits and rebates:

Insurance Coverage for Members

Did you know you can get a free insurance assessment? 

Doctors Manitoba has a range of insurance options to support members both personally and professionally. These are designed by physicians for physicians, and we offer them on a not-for-profit basis, which means any surpluses are rebated to you. 

Our insurance products include life, disability, overhead expenses, critical illness, accident, extended health and travel, and dental benefits. 

→ You can request a free insurance assessment with our licensed in-house expert, Mark Venton. Book a time here, at your convenience, for a virtual or in-person meeting to discuss your insurance questions and needs. 

Advocating in New Ways for Physicians

We have the province’s attention, and we are using it. 

Before the pandemic, how many times did you see Doctors Manitoba in the news, or hear about us meeting with government officials such as the Health Minister and Premier? If your answer is you didn’t, that’s because we never used to have much of a public profile. After hearing from members in 2019 and 2020 expressing a desire for us to up our game on how we advocate for what you need, we have taken a very strategic and deliberate approach to doing just that. 

This year, we have taken that advocacy to new heights, pressing for the support physicians need as the health system continues to struggle with physician and health human resource shortages and record levels of burnout and distress. This means we appeared in the news over 200 times this year, in addition to dozens of meetings with senior government officials to advance issues important to the profession. 

Some of the highlights:

  • We continued to be the definitive voice on the physician shortage in Manitoba, recommending both retention and recruitment strategies with a focus on reducing burnout and increasing joy in work. 
  • We pushed for action on reducing your administrative burdens, and this year the government announced a Joint Task Force with us to focus on reducing these burdens. 
  • We helped the public understand what is – and isn’t — changing when it comes to masks in doctors’ offices as the rules changed in RHA and Shared Health facilities. 
  • We launched a new public awareness campaign called Getting Healthy, showcasing how much physicians care about Manitobans’ well-being and that you are the experts when it comes to health and medicine. 

The most successful advocacy initiative this year, however, is our advocacy during the election. We released a Prescription for Improving Healthcare before the election started, with clear recommendations on what all political parties can and should promise when it comes to fixing health care. All three leaders spoke positively about the plan, and each adopted different elements in their health platform. We brought the three main leaders together, just before election day, to ask them about health care in our first ever Leaders’ Town Hall on Health Care – a first for Doctors Manitoba. What we see is several of our recommendations adopted by the new governing party into their plans, including a bold recruitment plan to address the physician shortage, a major expansion of team-based care, expanding hospital capacity, addressing burnout and changing the culture in health care, and modernizing electronic records. 

In fact, the message we sent you about the Leaders’ Town Hall was one of our most-read messages of the year. You can read it here.

Inclusion and Diversity in the Medical Profession

We are working to ensure every physician has a place and can thrive in medicine. 

While Doctors Manitoba has for several years now been advancing equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (EDID), 2023 was a year filled with firsts and big steps forward. This work is important, as data has uncovered inequities and discrimination within our profession, and how these are barriers for many of our members as they work to provide exceptional care for their patients. This includes much higher rates of mistreatment among women and racialized physicians and learners and a significant pay gap between some male and female physicians.

Key actions this year include:

  • The Board of Directors has created a new Special Committee focused on EDID within Doctors Manitoba and more broadly within the medical profession. 
  • Consulting with members about how EDID should be reflected in our next strategic plan, to guide our priorities and advocacy for the profession. 
  • Joining the Shared Health anti-racism initiative, to ensure the voices of physicians are heard as part of this initiative. 
  • Enshrining our commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into our new Physician Services Agreement with the Manitoba government. 

Serving you Better

From an expanded staff team to new online services. 

We have been expanding our online Member Portal offering more information and simplified ways to submit applications and access your information. A major development this year was launching our Ratification Information Centre to help members understand what the proposed Physician Services Agreement would mean to them. We’ve transformed this into a Remuneration Information Centre where you can continue to learn what the PSA means to you as we implement new and increased tariffs. This Centre has become one of the most popular areas of our website, with over 7,700 views in the five months since it was launched. 

Meanwhile, we are focusing on expanding our team to meet the needs of a growing number of physicians in an increasingly complex health care system. We have transformed our negotiations team into a bigger team focusing more broadly on Practice Support and Compensation. One new staff has been added already with more planned for early in the new year. These developments are aligned with what we have heard from members over the last few years, particularly looking for help and advocacy in improving the health system in which physicians work every day. Meanwhile, we have expanded counselling capacity at PAR with the addition of two therapists. 

In January, we will launch our annual physician survey to hear more from you about the services and support you would like to receive from Doctors Manitoba, as your medical association. 

New Opportunities with a New Government 

We’re continuing to advocate for what you need. 

In October, a new Manitoba government was sworn in led by Premier Wab Kinew. With every change, we look for an opportunity to advance the issues that are important to physicians and medical learners. We see plenty of opportunities ahead, though we will continue our advocacy and a collaborative approach to ensure physicians’ priorities remain front and centre. 

We are encouraged by the government’s commitment to change the culture in health care by prioritizing front line expertise. We will be working to offer advice about how and when physicians want to be engaged and consulted about challenges and changes in the health care system. We’re also encouraged to see many of our recommendations in their health platform and the mandate letter to Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara. As mentioned above, this includes adopting recommendations from our Prescription for Improving Healthcare such as recruiting 400 more doctors, increasing hospital capacity, and expanding team-based care.

We appreciated the progress we were able to make with the previous government over the last year of its mandate, and hope to build on this by not missing a single opportunity in 2024 to press for the resources and support physicians need, every step of the way.