COVID-19 Info for Physicians

Information and resources for physicians during COVID-19. This page was last updated on Oct. 7, 2021.

A message from the Registrar

“Physicians should not be reluctant to provide care, even when it may be extremely difficult to follow some components of CPSA’s Standards of Practice. CPSA will always consider the individual circumstances and context if a complaint arises during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an emergency situation, failure to meet standards is not considered unprofessional conduct if a physician can demonstrate they took all reasonable actions in their service to patients.”

– Dr. Scott McLeod, CPSA Registrar

Mask exemptions

On May 13, 2021, the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a public health order, stating any Albertan seeking a medical exemption from mask use due to a verified health condition requires an exemption letter from a physician, nurse practitioner or psychologist.

Please email any questions to COVID19@cpsa.ab.ca.

Need PPE?

While Alberta Health Services (AHS) will continue ordering and securing PPE to ensure physicians and care teams have the supplies needed to support patients, they are moving to a cost-recovery model for community physicians working outside of AHS.

There are also specific guidelines and additional information available:

AHS is just one option for community physicians to order PPE. Community physicians can source from any supplier of their choice.

Exams

CPSA has finalized our approach to getting the 2020 cohort of eligible postgraduate trainees into medical practice.

All postgraduate trainees who have successfully completed their postgraduate training (PGT) in 2020 and were eligible to take the RCPSC or the CFPC in the spring can apply for independent practice on the CPSA Provisional Register. There are no practice restrictions for physicians in independent practice on the CPSA Provisional Register.

Spring exams

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC), the College of Family Physicians (CFPC) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) have made the difficult decision to postpone their spring exams due to COVID-19. We are still looking at the impact this will have on physicians applying for independent practice and exploring the options available, including registration on the Provisional Register until such time as credentials can be obtained for the General Register. You will be kept informed as this process is finalized.

TDM exam postponed

As the COVID-19 situation in Canada and abroad continues to evolve rapidly, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) and Pan Canadian PRA programs have made the difficult decision to postpone the June 3, 2020 TDM exam session.

MCC worked with us to consider the risks as well as the impact on candidates for postponing the exam. By postponing, we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We’ll continue to work closely with MCC to find an alternative exam date that meets recommendations from public health authorities. Our priority is the health and safety of all involved.

For more information, please see MCC’s announcement.

For any questions or concerns, please contact PRA-AB at RegistrationAssessments@cpsa.ab.ca

Prescribing

Health Canada has updated their COVID-19 prescribing exemptions since the first notice went out on March 19. Physicians (or any prescriber with authority in Alberta to prescribe controlled drugs) are able to verbally initiate prescriptions for controlled substances if needed. Please refer to Health Canada’s FAQ document for more information, and read CPSA’s updated notification.

Please note, pharmacists will only dispense up to one month’s supply of medication at a time. This will assist in stabilizing Alberta’s drug supply and ensure all patients have access to the medicine they need.

Practice & registration

Thank you to all physicians who completed the COVID-19 physician registry. Your willingness to help out by ensuring we have your current work status has played an important part in ensuring Alberta’s preparedness for our COVID-19 response. We appreciate your hard work on the front lines and your dedication to providing good, safe care to Albertans.

CPSA launches emergency register

As per clause 9(2) of the Physicians, Surgeons and Osteopaths Profession Regulation, CPSA Registrar, Dr. Scott McLeod, activated an Emergency Register on March 19, 2020.

The CPSA Emergency Register will allow physicians currently registered in another province or territory to temporarily work in Alberta during emergency circumstances, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. This registration is free and there is no formal registration process. Here is our criteria to apply:

Interested physicians must:

  • be on the general register (and unrestricted) in another Canadian jurisdiction.
  • send us a Certificate of Professional Conduct (CPC) from the jurisdiction(s) they are currently registered in (verbal confirmation from their College will be acceptable).
  • confirm that they have CMPA membership.
  • submit a piece of government issued photo ID.
  • agree to the terms outlined in the CPSA Registration Understanding and Acknowledgement for the Emergency Register, which CPSA will send you once you email us.

The CPSA Emergency Register expires after 60 days. Physicians may renew beyond this point.

Lastly, the CMPA will extend assistance to physicians are providing care outside of their usual field of practice or in a different province.

Physicians who are interested and meet the criteria can email us directly at registration@cpsa.ab.ca

Scope of practice flexibility

CPSA recognizes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians may be required to work outside of their normal scope of practice and training. We are working hard to ensure you have all the resources you need to be able to focus on providing front-line care to Albertans during these are extraordinary times

During this time, any physician who has privileges and is working in an Alberta Health Services (AHS) or Covenant Health facility can be deployed in any way they see fit.

Physicians will be exempt from the CPSA’s requirement to work within their recent experience and training as long as they are doing so at the direction of AHS and for the duration of the pandemic only. We will also not require a change in scope of practice form or approvals in these instances.

In addition, the CMPA will extend assistance to physicians are providing care outside of their usual field of practice or in a different province.

This temporary exemption does not apply to physicians who are working in private practice. Physicians who are in private practice or physicians who wish to wish to change their scope of practice after the pandemic is concluded will need to apply for a formal change in scope of practice through CPSA.

Assessments & committee meetings

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CPSA is postponing most non-urgent assessments and committee meetings until further notice.

We are still prioritizing some registration assessments to help put physician resources into Alberta’s health system.

At this time, it’s most important for health care professionals to be on the front lines supporting patients. We will connect with you at a later date to reschedule your committee meeting or assessment.

Please know we are here to help however we can. Thank you for your efforts and tireless support of Albertans during this time.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact info@cpsa.ab.ca or your CPSA Assessment contact.

Questions?

Physician inquiries: 1-800-561-3899
Other inquiries: 780-423-4764

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