Drawing on the deliberations of its Post-Pandemic Expert Advisory Group, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has issued its first report on the most pressing issues for the medical profession and health care systems in managing COVID-19 over the next year and a half.
Made up of representatives from medicine, allied health, economics, public health and patient advocacy, the expert group highlighted four emerging issues:
Access to care
Addressing the backlog of services and wait times resulting from reduced and postponed access to services during the pandemic
How the CMA is responding: Recognizing that the pandemic has exacerbated existing weaknesses in our health care system, the CMA is recommending the creation of a one-time Health Care and Innovation Fund to help resume health care services, bolster public health capacity and expand primary care teams.
Long-term care reform
Investigating and recommending changes to long-term care standards and practices across Canada, and to provide greater support for Canadians to age in place
How the CMA is responding: Along with its pre-budget recommendations for improving seniors care, the CMA is calling for more support for seniors to age in place and for more federal/provincial/territorial government funding to modernize long-term care models across the country, in collaboration with other stakeholders.
Mental health impacts on the health care workforce
Partnering with key national organizations to develop a national health workforce mental health strategy
How the CMA is responding: The CMA is continuing to provide support to physicians through its 24/7 Wellness Support Line, Wellness Connection and the launch of the first-ever national Wellness Hub, bringing together health resources for the medical community.
Innovations in virtual care
Exploring opportunities to expand virtual care access in remote communities in Canada and advocating for consistent and permanent adoption of physician billing codes for these services
How the CMA is responding: Building on our pre-pandemic work, including the recommendations from the joint CMA, Royal College and CFPC Virtual Care Task Force, we’re calling on the federal government to address inequities in access to digital health services and expand access to broadband for all Canadians – particularly those in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
The deliberations of the advisory group will help guide the CMA’s continued response to the pandemic.
Formed in May, the expert advisory group members are:
- Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, CMA Board Chair
- Dr. Ann Collins, CMA President
- Dr. Chris Simpson, Queen’s School of Medicine
- Dr. David Naylor, University of Toronto
- Dr. Andrew Boozary, University Health Network
- Dr. Jesse Kancir, Public Health Resident, BC
- Dr. David-Martin Milot, Université de Sherbrooke
- Michael Villeneuve, Canadian Nurses Association
- Don Drummond, Queen’s University
- Bonnie Brossart, Saskatchewan Medical Association
- Claire Snyman, CMA Patient Voice
In the coming months, the advisory group will discuss longer term issues related to pandemic recovery — including mental health and substance use, inequities and their impact on vulnerable groups, and investments in public health and social supports.