September Messenger 2017

Dina Baras CPSA

Consultation 013 starts October 2nd!

Council has approved for consultation draft amendments to these standards of practice:

Watch your email for the Consultation 013 notice and let Council know how the changes could affect your practice. Feedback is welcome Oct. 2 – Dec. 1, 2017.

Increase your impact on health care in Alberta

Physicians are in a unique position to drive excellence in health care for all Albertans. As an elected Council member, you’ll join other highly engaged physicians focused on bettering health care for Albertans. Submit your nomination form for one of three available Council positions by October 3, 2017.

What kind of things happen in Council? Check out the [highlights] from our September meeting!

Eligibility & Application

Save money…renew on time.

Tips to Get Ready for 2018 Annual Renewal

Last year, 881 physician members and 699 professional corporations missed the renewal deadline of Dec. 31 and paid a late penalty.

We want to reduce these numbers! Check out our tips to make renewal easier.

  • Ensure we have your unique email address – one that you check regularly. This is how you’ll receive renewal notices. You can update your email in the Physician Portal or notify the College at
  • Add to your email contacts. This will help ensure you receive all College notifications, including renewal notices and The Messenger
  • Set up a personal reminder. While the College sends courtesy email reminders, these can be missed or inadvertently sent to your “junk mail” folder. Even if you don’t see the email notice, you’re still responsible to renew online before Dec. 31.
  • Renew before December holidays. If you’re planning a vacation, make early renewal part of your plan.
  • Don’t forget to renew your professional corporation. PC renewal is a separate process, with a separate form and fee payment. For PCs with multiple shareholders, only the designated physician will see the PC renewal information. Once completed, the PC permit and receipt will be posted to the practice profile of ALL shareholders.
  • Options to pay:
    • If not already enrolled in the Preauthorized Payment (PAP) Plan, sign up by Nov. 10. Your annual fee will automatically get withdrawn Dec. 1
    • Pay by credit card during the online renewal process.
    • Mail a cheque to the College in time so it is received by 31 (can be post-dated).

Questions? Email

Are you up to Standard?

Relocating or closing your practice? Read this!

Whenever there’s an expectation of ongoing care, you have an obligation to ease your patients’ transition if you move or close your practice. Most importantly, you need to:

Provide reasonable notice.

  • Each patient must be individually notified to ensure everyone is aware. It’s not enough to place an advertisement or hang posters in your office.
  • Give your patients: 
    • 45 days’ notice or longer if you’re relocating within reasonable travel distance.
    • 90 days’ notice or longer if you’re closing your practice, leaving for more than a year  or significantly changing the scope of your practice.
  • Inform the College of your plans (we recommend at least 30 days in advance). We’ll want to know:
    • your new contact information,
    • how you will manage access to your medical records, and
    • arrangements you’ve made for transfer of care.

Make sure your medical records are still accessible. You are obligated to maintain your patients’ records for at least 10 years after their last appointment (or two years after a minor patient turns 18, whichever is longer).

  • If you work in a multi-physician clinic, you should have an information sharing agreement that  clearly describes what will happen when a physician leaves the practice, including:
    • who will have custody of the records,
    • how access to the records will be managed, and
    • who will pay the costs of copying your records, if copies are to be left with your colleagues in support of continuity of care.
  • If you are in solo practice, you need to inform your patients how they can access their records. When deciding the best way to manage this, think about what’s easiest for your patients.
  • Do you have a successor custodian? If you haven’t done so already, you need to name a successor who is an eligible custodian under the Health Information Act to meet your patient record obligations if you become unable (i.e., you become ill or die).

Don’t let your patients fall through the cracks.

  • Do everything you can to ensure your patients in active treatment receive uninterrupted care, including making arrangements as necessary for transfer of care and follow-up of diagnostic tests and any “alerts” on patient files.
  • Have a plan for managing your non-urgent emails, faxes and letters.
  • Make sure any colleagues practising at your old office have your new professional address and understand they are obliged to provide it if asked by a patient, healthcare professional or member of the public.

And that’s not all…

Before you make your move, review the full standards of practice for Relocating a Medical Practice, Closing or Leaving a Medical Practice, Patient Record Retention, Transfer of Care and Continuity of Care.

New Education Outreach Section in 2018 RIF

This fall you will see a brand new section in the Renewal Information Form (RIF). With education as the priority, it is designed solely for your own learning and quality improvement purposes.

For the 2018 RIF, we selected five multiple choice questions based on their importance, timeliness and/or relevance to physician practice in Alberta. Topics include Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), infection prevention and control, workplace wellness, opioid prescribing and patient records. Your responses are strictly confidential, and we will only use them in aggregate form to direct future educational & quality improvement initiatives for physicians. Whether your answer choice is correct or incorrect, it will not be used it in any evaluative way. As an additional learning opportunity, a link after each question can lead you to more information about each topic.

We hope this new section helps inform and motivate you to continue learning and providing quality patient care.

Questions? Email

Ensure your hand hygiene and injection practices are up-to-date

College’s IPAC Program launches 2 new guidelines

How long can you use a vial of Xylocaine? How often should you monitor medication and vaccine temperatures? What is a suitable percentage of alcohol for hand rubs?

If you are asking these questions, two new guidelines are now available to help your office’s infection prevention and control practices:

Developed in partnership with the Alberta College of Pharmacists, the College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, and Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health, these new guidelines will support you and your staff to implement and comply with the General Infection Prevention & Control Standards. See sections on Hand Hygiene (G.2.0) and the Medication and Vaccine Injection Safety (G.7.0).

Questions about these new guidelines? Contact the College’s IPAC Program at or 780-969-5004.

Know more about your prescribing practice – check your mailbox for your customized MD Snapshot report

If you had at least one patient concurrently receiving an opioid and a benzodiazepine (or Z-drug) between April 1/2017 and June 30/2017, the CPSA recently mailed you an MD Snapshot report.

The MD Snapshot uses data from Alberta’s Triplicate Prescription Program to outline your prescribing. Data from the most recent complete quarter is broken down into two prescribing domains: opioids and benzodiazepines. Within these categories, the MD Snapshot captures data on dispensed daily doses, multi-doctoring and other high-risk measures.

The latest MD Snapshot provides a list of your patients who received a combination of one or more opioid with one or more benzodiazepine (BDZ) medications in the last quarter. Co-prescribing these medications may increase the risk of serious adverse effects. In a recent study, Park et al. found concurrent use of BDZs and opioids was associated with almost four times the risk of fatal overdose compared with when opioids were used alone (British Medical Journal 2015).

MD Snapshot helps physicians optimize their practice, increases their prescribing awareness and shares information that may them assist in identifying opportunities for better patient care.

COMING SOON: Your MD Snapshot will be online in 2018 and will contain peer comparison prescribing data by specialty. Look for details in The Messenger. 

Questions/comments about MD Snapshot?

Call the CPSA’s Continuing Competence department at (780) 969-4935 or 1-800-561-3899 (ext. 4935) or email your questions and comments to