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COVID-19: what physicians and Albertans want to know

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COVID-19, December Messenger 2021 | Posted December 9, 2021
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Albertans and physicians often reach out to CPSA for evidence-based guidance on COVID-19 measures like vaccination, mask use and safe patient care. Through our covid19@cpsa.ab.ca inbox, we monitor the types of information patients and physicians are seeking so we can provide relevant, timely updates.

Refusal of care

We continue to hear from Albertans who have been refused care because of their vaccination status. We also hear from physicians and medical clinics who want to protect their staff and their patients from COVID-19, and are concerned about seeing patients who cannot, or will not, wear a mask or get vaccinated.

Patients cannot be denied care if they are unvaccinated or if they cannot, or will not, wear a mask. However, physicians and healthcare teams can take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission when caring for an unvaccinated or unmasked patient.

Clinics must follow strict Infection Prevention and Control standards, which offer protection from viral transmission (including COVID-19). To protect their patients and staff, physicians may also consider additional measures, such as offering virtual care, postponing non-urgent visits and scheduling appointments for specific times or alternative locations.

Ivermectin

Some physicians have asked us for advice on how to respond to patients asking for ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Physicians are not permitted to prescribe ivermectin as a preventative measure against COVID-19. Health Canada has not approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19, and CPSA supports this position.

We will continue to monitor the latest evidence and developments on COVID-19 prevention and treatments, such as sotrovimab, a new monoclonal antibody treatment for patients with COVID-19 recently approved by Health Canada.

The best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones is by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and following COVID-19 prevention measures.

Consequences for physicians

The vast majority of physicians in Alberta are following public health orders and acting in the best interest of their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank those physicians for their commitment to caring for Albertans during this challenging time.

CPSA and CPSA Council have been clear that formal complaints and concerns related to COVID-19 are to be taken seriously and that consequences should be expected for any physician found to be spreading misinformation, issuing unsubstantiated mask or vaccination exemptions, using treatments not grounded in evidence or diverting people from valid prevention or treatment options. These actions put Albertans at risk.

CPSA continues to follow up on concerns reported to us. While we have an obligation to follow up on all reported concerns, we take the opportunity to substantiate the concerns with each physician and do not take action when it is clear physicians are following public health orders and CPSA guidance.

Abusive behaviour from patients

We understand that interactions between physicians and patients sometimes become emotional and difficult, particularly when discussing issues like masking or vaccination. If a patient becomes abusive toward a physician, staff member or other patients, you have the right to ask that patient to leave the premises under the Terminating The Physician-Patient Relationship In Office-Based Settings standard of practice. You and your team are not expected to tolerate this type of behaviour.

Do you have COVID-19-related questions?

We are here to support and guide physicians in providing safe care to Albertans. If you have questions about COVID-19, please reach out to us at covid19@cpsa.ab.ca.

Resources for physicians

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