Responsibility For A Medical Practice

Standard of Practice

Under Review: Yes
Issued by Council (Direction and Control of a Medical Practice): January 1, 2010
Reissued by Council (Responsibility for a Medical Practice): July 1, 2018

  1. A regulated member must direct and take responsibility for his/her medical practice1, including:
    1. patient care provided, including the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, advice given and referral of the patient; and
    2. compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and standards governing the practice of medicine.
  2. A regulated member must also direct and take responsibility for the following, except where a Medical Director has responsibility:
    1. all non-regulated staff supervised by the regulated member by:
      1. setting appropriate roles and responsibilities;
      2. ensuring appropriate qualifications; and
      3. overseeing performance;
    2. all regulated staff participating in the practice by ensuring:
      1. appropriate qualifications; and
      2. effective collaboration in a team-based setting;
    3. billing for medical practice;
    4. advertising and promotion of services;
    5. quality assurance and quality improvements;
    6. custody of health information, including maintenance and storage of medical records;
    7. notification to the College at least 30 days prior to:
      1. establishing or moving the physical location of a practice2, providing the street address and services to be offered; or
      2. initiating or resuming a service or procedure that requires accreditation and/or approval by this College, as identified in the CPSA Standards of Practice or College bylaws3; and
    8. clear identification to patients and the public coming into the practice setting of the qualifications for all care providers (e.g., nametag or notice) that includes:
      1. for regulated healthcare professionals, their name and professional designation; and
      2. for non-regulated care providers, their name and job title.
  3. Regulated members practising in a multi-physician setting4 without a Medical Director must designate one individual to represent the practice in interactions with the College, either:
    1. a medical lead, who is a regulated member, and accepts overall responsibility for any or all of subclasses 2(a) through (h); or
    2. a contact person who is a regulated member.
  4. Notwithstanding the above, clauses (2) and (3) may not apply to a regulated member working in a hospital or a facility operated by government or a provincial health authority.

1.The practice of medicine includes, but is not limited to, the provision of patient care by a regulated member of this College and the professional and administrative activities which support that care. A medical practice cannot be delegated to or owned by a non-physician person or business, but is the exclusive domain of a regulated member regardless of practice setting.↩
2.Excluding a hospital or facility operated by government or a provincial health authority.↩
3.See Medical Services Requiring Accreditation Outside of HospitalsComplementary and Alternative Medicine, Reprocessing of Medical Equipment and College bylaws.↩
4.For the purposes of this standard, “multi-physician setting” refers to any practice arrangement between regulated members in which they share the use, benefits or costs associated with any of the following:

(a) advertising;
(b) office telephone number;
(c) medical records;
(d) clinical or administrative functions (i.e., infection prevention and control, billing, etc.)
(e) premises, equipment, furnishings or other property; and/or
(f) staff.

About the Standards of Practice

The CPSA Standards of Practice are the minimum standards of professional behaviour and ethical conduct expected of all physicians registered in Alberta. Standards of practice are enforceable under the Health Professions Act and will be referenced in the management of complaints and in discipline hearings.


For questions or archived standards, policies and guidelines contact our Standards of Practice Advisor.

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