Doctors of BC is taking active steps to support our members with respect to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our work includes: advocacy on behalf of physicians with government, the Provincial Health Officer and health authorities; and ensuring our members have access to appropriate benefits and insurance.
A dedicated email address has been created to provide members one point of contact for COVID-19 concerns, questions, or comments. Please email.
This page provides physicians with a resource on information from Doctors of BC. We will continue to update it regularly.
Direction on how community doctors should register to receive PPE supplies from the Ministry at no cost.
The Ministry of Health has released new guidelines on mandatory mask use in all health care facilities including family doctor and community specialist offices.
Doctors in community offices are asked to contact their health authorities if they are unable to access additional supplies of medical masks to meet increased
demand as a result of changes to the Ministry’s policy.
Doctors with community practices are eligible for a $1,000 grant to help offset costs related to resuming in-person visits.
The Doctor is In: Recommendations for expanding in-person care in physician practices
The report compiles and summarizes guidelines for increasing in-person visits in community physician offices, it includes a template for physicians to develop a plan for their own office or clinic.
Getting Patients Back to Practice Guide
Provides step-by-step clinical workflow recommendations, examples of kinds of visits that could be done virtually vs in-clinic, sample communications templates and tips on how to re-build clinical visit volumes through proactive outreach.
Temporary billing and fee code changes in response to COVID-19
Doctors of BC and the BC government have agreed on a range of fee code changes to support increased use of virtual care and to address other challenges to patient care resulting from COVID-19. Includes GPSC and SSC changes.
Business Cost Premium expands to include telehealth fees during COVID-19
Effective May 1, the Business Cost Premium (BCP) will be temporarily expanded to apply to telehealth fee items, including phone and video communication with patients.
Doctors of BC: How to Use Virtual Care Guide
Expanding virtual care allows physicians to provide care remotely and limit the possibility of COVID-19 transmission while ensuring effective primary care coverage.
Doctors of BC: Support for physician outreach on virtual care
Guidelines, templates and resources for physicians to spread the word about virtual care to patients through communications, social media and local media.
Zoom licenses available free of charge to BC physicians
Our Doctors Technology Office and the PHSA are providing 10,000 Zoom licenses free of charge to BC physicians for one year.
Doctors of BC: Insurance & Benefits During COVID-19
In addition to temporary billing changes, Doctors of BC is supporting physicians and their staff with regards to insurance and benefits claims related to COVID-19.
Doctors of BC and MD Financial: Navigating COVID-19 - Considerations, Assistance and Resources Webinar Recording
Discussion of federal programs, provincial measures, and financial planning available for physicians, recorded May 14, 2020.
MD Financial: COVID-19 federal and provincial financial support – what do physicians qualify for?
This document provides information on benefits physicians may qualify for as well as a decision tree. Please consult your accountant for more complete advice specific to your financial circumstances
MD Financial: List of Federal and provincial supports for individuals and small businesses
Both the federal and provincial governments have put supports in place to assist small businesses, including physician practices, struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.
Physician Health Program: Supports for physicians, trainees, and family members
To support the health and wellbeing of physicians and health care providers during this challenging time, the Physician Health Program has additional resources in place to provide counselling support for everyone who needs it.
Physician Health Program: Virtual Peer Support Sessions
Starting Tuesday, April 7, PHP will be offering free drop-in COVID-19 Physician Peer Support Sessions via Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-5pm PST. Email for the link. Join by phone or video.
Managing Anxiety and Stress in Families with Children and Youth During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Child & Youth Mental Health & Substance Use (CYMHSU) Community of Practice (funded by Doctors of BC and the BC government) provides information and advice on managing anxiety and stress in families with children and youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.
External Resources on Physician Health and Wellness:
Five things doctors can do to manage COVID-19 stress and anxiety
Five questions physicians can use to check in on themselves during this challenging time.
CMA physician wellness hub
This hub provides wellness tools and resources to empower physicians, medical learners and leaders to create change in the culture of medicine.
Doctors are being encouraged to see patients via telemedicine when possible, and in person when the situation warrants it. To help, we have compiled a list of virtual care resources and supports: New guides for physicians on using virtual care
We also encourage physicians to reach out to complex care patients, check in on their conditions, and have advance care planning conversations – these are all billable services and a good way to support patients during this difficult time.
Doctors of BC and the BC government have agreed on temporary billing changes to enable physicians to better utilize virtual care, reducing the need for people to attend physician offices in person. New, temporary fee codes have also been introduced to address added costs of treating patients with COVID-19 in physician offices.
A number of physicians are asking about access and criteria for federal and provincial financial supports. Given each physician has different circumstances, we are directing physicians to some helpful resources developed by MD Management. This includes:
Doctors of BC has been advocating for an end to the requirement for sick notes since 2014, and is again requesting that employers not require sick notes during the COVID-19 outbreak. This concern was brought to the attention of Public Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, who in early March stated: there is “no need – none – for sick notes at this time.”
We understand that despite government’s statement, sick notes are still being requested by some employers. As a response, we wrote a news article further articulating our position.
As well, BC Family Doctors has created a template letter for employers explaining why sick notes should not be requested at this time.
In order to help meet the increasing demands on the capacity of the health-care system, the College of Physicians and Surgeons has made temporary emergency registration options available to physicians who meet these eligibility requirements:
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC has gathered physician feedback on a proposed bylaw change to allow international medical graduates (IMGs) to be registered with the College as an Associate Physician to provide needed support (under supervision) in acute care settings. Work on this began far in advance of our current pandemic, although these IMGs would likely begin work as soon as possible, and would create a permanent new category of physician licensure. More information can be found on the College website here.
Practice Resources & Guidelines
Guidelines for expanded testing for COVID-19
The updated guidelines advise that testing should be done of all individuals with new respiratory or systemic symptoms compatible with COVID-19, however mild, and details groups who should have testing priority. Physicians and other healthcare providers can also order a COVID-19 test for any patient based on their clinical judgment.
BCCDC on immunization services during COVID-19
The BC Center for Disease Control provides guidance to immunization providers on prioritization of infant, childhood and adult immunization programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCCDC: COVID-19 Information & Resources for Health Care Professionals
The BC Centre for Disease Control provides the most up-to-date information about the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak in British Columbia, including a list of COVID-19 designated hospitals.