Amid growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 within our borders and its recent declaration as a pandemic by the WHO, I want to provide an update on our work to support physicians.
Past public health crises have shown we must all work collaboratively to implement successful prevention and control measures. We want you to know that we have been monitoring the situation very closely, taking action where appropriate to help to facilitate this collaboration and implementing our own precautionary steps as an organization.
At the federal level, the CMA is participating in regular meetings with the Chief Public Health Officer, along with other national health professional associations. We are involved in critical discussions that inform decisions, providing feedback we are receiving from physicians at the front lines and their provincial associations.
At the regional level, we are in regular contact with provincial and territorial medical associations to share information and identify emerging issues. This will enable all of us to make governments aware of priority issues to support an effective response.
For instance, the supply of protective equipment for health care providers was recently identified as a pressing matter ― this knowledge led us to alert governments, to ensure you and your team have the tools you need to work safely. In turn, the federal government has now announced additional funding and measures to address the pandemic.
With the best interest of physicians and the health care system in mind, the CMA has introduced certain measures as a precaution that will affect a number of meetings, events and courses that were scheduled between now and mid-April. We have:
- cancelled our two final Regional Member Forums in London and Fredericton;
- cancelled our Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) roundtables;
- rescheduled all face-to face Physician Leadership Institute (PLI) courses (online PLI courses will continue as usual); and
- cancelled all face-to-face Practice Management Curriculum (PMC) sessions.
Those who are affected by these changes will be contacted directly. Changes to meetings, events and courses beyond mid-April will be assessed in the coming days and weeks. Additionally, we’re moving our internal governance meetings to virtual platforms, and our staff will be tele-working. We believe these are prudent measures for our physician-members, our leadership and our staff.
We have also heard concerns about finding reliable, up-to-date information about the virus. The CMA and its subsidiaries have pulled together information sources you and your patients can trust:
Public health information for physicians and the general public
This site provides a curation of national and international public health resources on the virus. The CMA has also done a video interview with infection control specialist Dr. Allison McGeer about how community physicians can prepare for patients with COVID-19.
Clinical information about COVID-19 and coronaviruses
Ask A Librarian has done a literature search and compiled free information sources and point-of-care tools available to all members. Also included are provincial, national and international guidelines, as well as patient education information. If you require additional clinical literature about coronaviruses, please contact Joule’s Ask A Librarian team.
Medical journal research, insights and recent news updates
The CMAJ Group has a page dedicated to news updates on COVID-19. They are also publishing content regularly, including learnings from early experiences screening for COVID-19 in Toronto and a podcast interview with three infection disease specialists.
We are always looking for your feedback on how we can better support you. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact our Member Service Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at 1-888-855-2555 (weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm ET).
We look forward to hearing from you,
Dr. Sandy Buchman