Hello friends and colleagues,
As we all settle into our busy practices, I wanted to reach out to all of you with a few SGFP updates:
Downloading from our Specialist colleagues
As you all know, one of my priorities as your chair has been to address the burden of downloading from our specialist colleagues. Our previous surveys heard the overwhelming response from members that we need to find a solution. We look forward to hearing your response on the survey question that was included in your most recently received Chairs Letter from the OMA that was sent on February 10th, 2023. Please follow the private link to the survey found on that email.
We know that family physicians are being asked to do more and more, which is adding to our frustration and dissatisfaction with family medicine. The SGFP recognizes that the referral process is flawed and must be improved, not only for physicians but also for the patients we care for. The OMA hosted an initial roundtable attended by members of the SGFP executive and a select group of specialists. The OMA’s solution is to continue these discussions in regional settings, hoping for more local solutions between specialists and family physicians. While we recognize collegiality and mutually acceptable solutions is the preferred way to go, it may not solve our downloading burden. Please know that I intend to have a solution for my members as their burnout is my priority. As we continue to work on a solution for members, I would like to share an article on downloading from my two colleagues, Dr. Aly Abdulla and Dr. Matthew Schurter.
Pharmacist’s expanded role to prescribe for Common Ailments
As of January 1, pharmacists can now prescribe for 13 common ailments to patients who self-diagnose and present to their pharmacist. The SGFP recognizes the extra administrative burden of the pharmacy notification that we are receiving. The OMA informs us that Regulation 202/94 section 35(4) under the Pharmacy Act, 1991, requires pharmacists to notify the patient’s primary care provider (if any) within a reasonable time, and provide details respecting the prescription. The OMA has provided an FAQ on the pharmacist’s expanded role which includes a review by the CMPA.
Additional details on submission by the OMA on scope of practice is also available.
Relativity Advisory Committee
The relativity disparity in our profession is of utmost importance to the SGFP. Over the years, the SGFP has represented our members’ interests on relativity, but we have been repeatedly disappointed. These decisions on relativity hinge on the Relativity Advisory Committee, which is comprised of 8 physicians, but only 2 of them are family physicians. While the members of the RAC are expected to represent the entire profession, the SGFP believes that it needs more than 2 members and will be following up with the OMA on this issue. The SGFP has hired an economist to support our work and we have provided feedback on the return on education study to the RAC, along with all other OMA sections. This feedback is now under review, and we will update you as we hear back the results of this review. The SGFP also has concerns about the appeals process and will be following up with the OMA about potential improvements to this process. Stay tuned for further updates in next month’s chair’s letter.
As I sign off, I would like to remind members to contribute to the SGFP discretionary dues. With your support, the SGFP can continue to advocate for your needs with our parent organization. This becomes even more important as the SGFP prepares for its upcoming negotiation priorities submission.
Dr Cathy Mastrogiacomo
February 17, 2023 by Cathy Mastrogiacomo