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By Dr. Michael Caffaro, Assistant Registrar, Registration
As a regulated member of CPSA, you have first-hand experience with our Registration processes. What you may not be as familiar with is the ongoing work behind the scenes to make sure these processes support patient safety and access to high-quality care for all Albertans.
To practise medicine in Alberta, all physicians must receive a practice permit from CPSA. Once a physician or physician assistant (PA) applies for independent practice, our Registration team guides them through each step, from confirming their eligibility, to receiving their practice permits and ultimately seeing patients independently.
The first step a physician takes in this process is to verify they meet CPSA’s eligibility requirements, which apply to all applicants, including locums, physicians with Canadian credentials and international medical graduates (IMGs). These are designed with patient safety and quality care in mind, and are largely congruent with requirements across Canadian jurisdictions. Physicians who were trained outside of Canada may need to take additional steps to confirm they meet CPSA’s eligibility requirements.
We are sometimes asked about the reasons a candidate may be rejected after an eligibility review. In some cases, the candidate’s English Language Proficiency scores do not meet required minimums. In other cases, the candidate may have insufficient post-graduate training, or training that is not equivalent to Canadian standards. Currency of practice is a factor if a candidate has not been in practice or in accredited training within the past three years. For specialists, they may not have certification in specialty training. When our Registration team notifies a candidate that they are ineligible for registration, they also provide guidance to help the candidate understand actions they may take to help them succeed if they apply again in the future.
For IMGs, the final step to independent practice in Alberta is CPSA’s six-month practice readiness assessment (PRA). As I shared last September, we have been working to improve the PRA process to meet physician recruitment needs. This process continues to evolve, and this year, we launched a five-year pilot project that condenses the PRA timeframe for certain eligible IMGs. For those with training comparable to that obtained in Canadian universities, this accelerated registration route means certain requirements will be waived, including clinical review exams and the first three-month assessment. These physicians will now go directly to communities where they have been sponsored and begin practising independently while completing their three-month Supervised Practice Assessment (SPA). We have also implemented safeguards, such as enhanced Competence assessments and practice reviews, that will be in place once the physician has successfully completed their SPA. The goal of this pilot is to evaluate whether IMGs may begin seeing patients independently within their communities faster, while maintaining our focus on patient safety.
For Albertans, there are few things more important than having access to high-quality, community-based health care. That’s why we are committed to ensuring our Registration processes meet the needs of patients, our regulated members and communities across the province.
|Dr. Michael Caffaro has been a CPSA team member since 2015 and is currently the Assistant Registrar, Registration at CPSA. Prior to this role, Dr. Caffaro worked in CPSA’s Professional Conduct department for six years as Complaints Director and Assistant Registrar, Professional Conduct. Dr. Caffaro is a University of Alberta graduate and, before joining CPSA, spent 22 years as a family physician in Hinton, Alta.
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