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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page provides physicians with a resource on information from Doctors of BC. We will continue to update it regularly.
The Doctor is In: Recommendations for expanding in-person care in physician practices
The report is written by physicians for physicians. It compiles and summarizes official guidelines for re-opening community-based physician offices, while providing guidance and templates to help with implementation.
If you are looking for just the Appendix of The Doctor is In
While the appendix is included in the full document (above), it is also posted here separately at the request of some of our members.
The Doctor is In, Safety Plan Appendix in Word
For physicians wishing to adapt the Doctor is In Appendix outlining the safety plan, we have converted it into a Word document for ease of editing.
Direction on re-opening of physician offices
Includes guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, College of Physicians and Surgeons, WorksafeBC and the BCCDC.
Doctors of BC on re-opening of physician offices
Doctors of BC President Dr Kathleen Ross comments on re-opening of clinics; advises physicians to take a gradual approach and continue to use virtual care as appropriate.
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.
Webinar recording - Getting Patients Back to Practice and Navigating the New Norm
A panel of physicians shared success stories and lessons learned about re-building clinic visit volumes during COVID-19, tips and tricks for operating in a hybrid virtual/in-person model and best practices for communicating with patients about virtual/in-person visits.
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: #VirtualCARE Campaign
We are telling patients that BC physicians are using telephone or video appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to providing in-person care when necessary.
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.
External Resources on Virtual Care:
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.
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.
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.
BC Government: Child Care for Essential Service Workers
The BC Government is providing assistance to essential service workers requiring temporary emergency child care for children ages 0-5 years old.
Doctors of BC: March 22, 2020 President’s Letter
In her most recent President’s Letter, Dr Kathleen Ross calls on physicians to reach out to the public on COVID-19. You can read her other President’s letters here.
Doctors of BC: Forum to Collaborate on COVID-19
A physicians-only forum for you to engage with each other to discuss innovative ideas and solutions related to COVID-19 (login required).
Doctors of BC: COVID-19 Media Guidelines for MSAs & Hospital Doctors
Guidelines and support for physicians and medical staff.
Doctors of BC: Position on Sick Notes
Doctors of BC is asking employers to not require sick notes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
Doctors of BC continues to work closely with health authorities and the Provincial Health Office to ensure that the concerns of doctors, health care workers, and patients are heard during this difficult time. We know accessing PPE is a top priority for our community physicians as well as those who work in facilities.
We have been in discussions with each health authority around supply and distribution of PPE supplies and put together the list below. This contact information is for physicians who have offices outside of hospitals. Please note, given the continuing supply and distribution concerns of PPE, contacting the Health Authority may or may not guarantee access to supplies. Doctors of BC continues to advocate on this challenging issue.
1. Northern Health
Contact: Mark De Cross, CFO for Northern Health
2. Fraser Health
Contact: Fraser Health PPE Community Support Desk
3. Vancouver Coastal & Providence Health Care
Contact: Fill out form (VCH Community Services Form)
Email completed orders to: VCHCOVID-19CentralSupply@vch.ca
4. Interior Health
Contact: Logistics Section Chief for IH EOC
5. Island Health
No specific contact provided. We recommend physicians contact the Emergency Operations Committee via Medical Affairs at the following contact: Email: MedStaffEngagement@viha.ca
Contact: PHSA will supply anyone on their medical staff with PPE for their Community Practices. Otherwise physicians should contact the respective Health Authority in which they work.
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 (April 23)
The updated guidelines advise that testing should be done of all individuals with new respiratory or systemic symptoms compatible with COVID-19, however mild. 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.
BCCDC & Ministry of Health: COVID-19 PPE Allocation Framework
Framework to guide decision-making on what type of PPE individuals working or visiting health care settings will receive in the event of a pandemic when demand for PPE overwhelms supply.
CPSBC: Scope of Practice Update
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia has issued an update on scope of practice changes to support health human resource needs during the pandemic.
BC Government: Guidelines for Pandemic Management and Infection Control for Physician Offices
BC’s Pandemic Influenza Response Plan provides guidelines for physicians to improve their infection control practices during a pandemic.
CMPA: COVID-19 & CMPA Protection
Guidance on medico-legal protection for physicians participating in the COVID-19 emergency response effort.
College of Pharmacists: Temporary Prescription Authorization for Controlled Drugs and Substances
Pharmacists are temporarily permitted to extend and renew prescriptions, transfer prescriptions to other pharmacists, verbally prescribe prescriptions with controlled substances, and allow pharmacy employees to deliver prescriptions of controlled substances to patients at their homes or alternate locations during the COVID-19 outbreak.