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PTMA Newsletter - Issue 8 2015

CMA Board of Directors

October 2015 Meeting Highlights

“Open space conference”

Summit with members of the Boards of Directors for CMA, Newco, MD Financial Holdings and CMA Holdings 2014. Discussion to allow Board members to build relationships and learn more about each others organizations. Facilitated by Misha Glouberman.

Major discussion topics

  • Strategic planning for 2016
  • CMA policy development and improving General Council
  • Professionalism and quality improvement issues
  • Immunization activities

CMA 2016 Strategic Priorities

  • High level overview of strategic planning process described
  • 12 strategic initiatives proposed for 2016 based on fit, focus and relevance to overall strategic plan
  • Board input provided prior to developing the 2016 budget, which will be presented for approval at the December Board meeting

Proposed 2016 Strategic Initiatives

The Profession

  • A progressive vision for medical professionalism
  • Improving Quality in Health Care Agenda
  • Seniors’ Care Strategy
  • Immunization

Member Relevance

  • Members’ Forum
  • Project Orion (regionalized CMA presence)
  • Quebec Strategy

Patients and the Public

  • Innovative approach to advocacy

The modern CMA

  • Enterprise Marketing and Communications strategic plan
  • The role of General Council
  • CMA modern workplace
  • Green initiative

Federal election strategy

  • An overview of the current federal election campaign and the successful CMA strategy promoting a national seniors’ strategy was presented
  • The association’s plans to continue advocating on this issue after the election were also detailed.

Assisted dying

  • Further to the General Council discussion, an amended version to the Principles-based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying document was approved.
  • The CMA is preparing for a number of discussions on the issue at the national and provincial/territorial levels following the upcoming federal election.
  • Work is underway in conjunction with NewCo to develop educational resources for physicians.

Quality improvement

  • The Board was informed about development of a new quality in health care improvement agenda at the CMA as part of a larger vision for medical professionalism.
  • The Board endorsed development of a business case on quality improvement in health care for the December meeting as well as ongoing support for Choosing Wisely Canada.


  • The Board of Directors discussed and approved a 3-year plan to improve immunization rates in Canada through a dual strategy of advocacy and development of tools to support physicians.
  • A detailed plan and budget will be presented at the December Board meeting.

Emerging Issues

Natural health products

  • Board endorsed continued CMA action to advocate that natural health products be assessed to the same degree as pharmaceuticals.

Refugee health

  • The CMA will advocate more strongly for the federal government to resolve issues with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) to ensure refugee patients receive proper care.

Bill 20 in Quebec

  • The CMA will urge the federal Minister of Health to intervene with the Quebec government on Bill C-20 because it violates the Canada Health Act.

CMA International Presence

  • The Board of Directors endorsed a strategy to strengthen engagement with the World Medical Association.
  • The CMA will continue to foster relationships with international partners such as the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association.
  • The CMA will work with Canadian and international humanitarian organizations on an ongoing basis.

General Council

  • A resolution referred to the Board of Directors from General Council defining obesity as a chronic disease was adopted.
  • The Board held a generative discussion on policy development and the role of General Council.


  • The Board of Directors was notified that the development of guidelines for the creation, population and oversight of working groups and task forces will be discussed at the Governance Committee’s meeting later in October.

CMA Workplace

  • The CEO has been directed by the Board to look at all of the options developed by the Modern Workplace Board Working Group and bring a final recommendation back to the Board of Directors.

Update from MD on carbon reduced footprint & investments

  • MD strategy to assess client interest and test product options.
  • Commitment that MD will remain in line with CMA approach on issue.
  • Reducing investment in carbon-based industries will remain an individual choice for MD clients

Consent agenda

A number of items were approved by the Board:

  • CMA Policy on Palliative Care
  • Endorsement of the Canadian Blood Services document “Ethics Guide for Donation Physicians”
  • Revisions to the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools standards and elements

CMA election update – Demand a Plan

For the past few months we have been providing updates on the CMA’s election strategy activities and Demand a Plan. Your tremendous support has helped us reach members and the public, with over 27,000 Canadians adding their names to the call for a national seniors care strategy.

Much like the party leaders our elected officials have been on the road talking about the need for a national seniors care strategy. CMA had the privilege to collaborate with many of you in organizing local events across the country and we thank you. Together our collective voice has an impact.

We are keeping a close eye on the party’s commitments. Check out our promise tracker to see what each party has committed to thus far.

With the longest federal election in recent history behind us, the real work commences in ensuring that the party leaders’ commitments to address seniors care do not fall behind. We will keep PTMAs apprised of our advocacy efforts for federal leadership on the development of a national seniors strategy.

Refugee care must be a priority: CMA

Proper health care for all refugees in Canada is an urgent issue that should not be postponed because of the current federal election campaign.

That’s the stance of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), whose Board of directors recently served notice that the association is not prepared to let the issue drop.

CMA President Cindy Forbes has sent a letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, expressing her continued concern with the state of health care coverage for refugees.

She noted that despite the 2014 federal court decision requiring the federal government to restore coverage for all refugees to levels prior to the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) in 2012, some refugees are still not receiving full coverage.

“The challenges and struggles facing refugees fleeing war torn countries such as Syria has garnered international attention and contributed to the increased interest by Canadians to pursue private sponsorship of refugees.” These privately sponsored refugees currently do not receive full health care coverage in Canada.

“The CMA strongly objects to such an inequitable approach,” Forbes wrote.

At its recent meeting, Board members spoke vehemently about the need for the federal government to urgently redress its stance with respect to refugee health.

“We’re more than just doctors, we’re citizens. We have a social duty to take action,” said Board member Dr. Pierre Harvey.

“We’re all seeing these people (ineligible refugee patients) and who is refusing them? None of us are,” said Board member Dr. Ewan Affleck.

Board members pointed out that the court had ruled clearly that the federal government must correct deficiencies in the IFHP and the CMA should use its advocacy efforts to speak out strongly on the issue.

In her letter, Forbes noted that the CMA has joined with other national and social stakeholders in calling for a reversal of the cuts since changes to the IFHP were first announced in April 2012.

“While we recognize that government activities are curtailed during an election period … it is our position that the current situation constitutes an urgent matter, and therefore immediate action is both warranted and necessary,” she said in her letter.

“Canadians have shown their commitment to step up and work with government to help address the current refugee crisis. We urge the government to meet this compassionate spirit by ensuring that all refugees regardless of sponsorship category receive appropriate and comprehensive health care coverage.”

CMA recognizes obesity as a disease

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has declared obesity to be a chronic medical disease requiring enhanced research, treatment and prevention efforts.

At the recent meeting of the CMA Board of directors, overwhelming support was given to a resolution to this effect that had been referred to the Board for consideration from the August General Council meeting.

“It is important for health care providers to recognize obesity as a disease so preventive measures can be put in place and patients can receive the appropriate treatment,” said CMA President Cindy Forbes.

“This move by the CMA speaks to the importance of addressing obesity and dealing with the stigma that is often associated with the condition.”

“We need to strongly alter the course of the problem,” said Board member Dr. Adam Steacie who brought the issue forward.

He said recognizing obesity as a disease may precipitate a shift in thinking of obesity as just a lifestyle choice to a medical disease with an obligation to treat it as other diseases. Steacie acknowledged that there is divided opinion as to whether obesity should be considered a disease but said it meets the definition because it decreases life expectancy and impairs normal functioning of the body; also, it can be caused by genetic factors.

Several other prominent medical and health organizations, including the American Medical Association, have declared obesity a chronic disease.

The resolution was referred from General Council in part because of concerns about the limitations of using body mass index (BMI) as the measure for diagnosing obesity.

Steacie said BMI is a useful operational definition for obesity but should not be used as the defining characteristic of the disease. He also noted that in the case of individuals who are very obese, issues of definition and measurement are not relevant.

“We should continue to advocate for effective public policy, education and awareness to prevent obesity,” Steacie said, “(but) we must also provide better care and treatment. Declaring obesity a chronic disease can help both of these efforts.”

The first World Obesity Day was held on October 11.

CMA leaders make medical “power list”

Oct. 1, 2015 - Current and past Canadian Medical Association (CMA) presidents feature prominently in a list of 30 of the most powerful physicians in the country prepared by The Medical Post and published in the magazine’s September 15 edition.

“Current medical association presidents” was the second item on The Medical Post’s power list, noting the efforts of some of the doctors who have most recently held the office: Cindy Forbes, Chris Simpson, and Louis Hugo Francescutti.

The authors commend the gravity of work that each president, whether on a national or provincial/territorial level, takes on during their term.

“Being Canadian Medical Association president – or a provincial/territorial medical association president – is an incredible bully pulpit,” the article notes.

Another CMA past-president Jeff Turnbull was listed in the number six position, as the “crusader for the most vulnerable.” Besides being credited for his role as president of the CMA in 2010/2011 and the chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital, Turnbull was primarily recognized for his efforts in caring for the most disadvantaged in society: the homeless.

“This is a man who didn’t just write some editorials about the homeless, he went out and raised significant money needed to start up the Inner City Health Project for the homeless in Ottawa,” said the authors.

Another familiar face making the list was Brian Day, who served as CMA president in 2007/2008. Besides being a successful Medical Director for a clinic in B.C., Day has also been a prominent political figure in the industry.

In addition to the list of most powerful and influential doctors in Canada, The Medical Post also published a list of 20 doctors to watch.

Samir Sinha was one of the doctors on this list.

Since 2010, he’s served as the director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and has been a tireless advocate for improving seniors care across the country.

Sinha is working closely with the CMA in advocating for development of a national seniors strategy to support the aging population and their complex care needs.

The CMA congratulates all doctors whose accomplishments were recognized.

Family medicine makes gains in funded postgrad slots

The increased availability of postgraduate training positions in family medicine is reflected in a new analysis of proportional trends in funded specialty positions over the past two decades.

The overview produced by the Canadian Post M.D. Education Registry (CAPER) shows the number of ministry funded postgraduate trainees in family medicine has increased from 23% to 25% of all funded positions across the continuum of training between 1995-96 and 2014-15.

This increase appears to have come at the expense of funded positions in surgical specialties, which decreased from 23% to 19% of all funded positions over the same time period.

The increase in family medicine positions is also seen in the analysis of all postgraduate year one (PGY-1) trainees with the number of first year family medicine trainees increasing 91% between 2004 and 2014. Over the same period, the number of general surgery PGY-1 trainees decreased by 11%.

Dr. Geneviève Moineau, president and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, said these statistics reflect the positive move towards increasing the number of family physicians.

“Family medicine has become a very desirable specialty,” said Moineau in a telephone interview, adding, “I think the increase in family medicine positions is definitely welcomed by those of us who are trying to ensure we have the right number, mix and distribution of physicians.”

Canadian Medical Association (CMA) president and family physician Cindy Forbes, who recently chaired a session at the CMA General Council meeting on finding the right mix of Canadian medical graduates to meet societal needs, joined Moineau in noting the positive nature of the trend in funded positions.

“These data show governments and medical schools have recognized the essential role of family medicine in delivering health care in Canada.”

However, Moineau said, because there are still issues with ensuring all Canadians have their own family physician, more has to be done to adjust the proportion of doctors being trained in various areas.

Moineau cautioned that because the data are aggregated at the national level, the figures do not provide details on trends at the provincial or regional level. However, she said, certain jurisdictions such as Quebec have stated they intend to ensure family physicians make up 50% or more of all doctors being trained in the province.

“That is a trend that should be happening in all provinces moving forward,” she said.

Moineau said the decline in funded positions for the surgical specialties over the past two decades may reflect a decision by governments to only fund the number of surgeons who can be supported by current operating room space and adequate number of surgical support staff.

The CAPER figures also show a slight growth in the number of funded slots for all medical specialists between 1995 and 2014. However, a proportionally explosive increase in the number of PGY-1 trainees in the specific fields of dermatology and plastic surgery were seen with the number of trainees entering these specialties increasing by 200% and 100% respectively between 2004 and 2014.

Leadership development is essential for all physicians

Registration for the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA’s) 2016 PMI physician leadership courses is now open. Physicians who register by December 31, 2015 can enjoy an early-bird discount* of $150. Promo code: EARLYBIRD

Upcoming courses:

  • Effective Communication Skills for Physician Leaders (online, facilitated): Nov. 2 – Dec. 13, 2015. Develop and enrich your communication skills, and gain a greater understanding of your own communication style and how it affects situations and interactions with others. Register today and save $200. Promo code: PMIOE
  • Engaging Others (face-to-face): Nov. 21 – 23, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia
    Learn how to engage and influence others, particularly those outside of your sphere of organizational authority.

Developed by the CMA specifically for physicians, PMI physician leadership courses are also available face-to-face (in locations across Canada or at your organization) or online. The courses also count toward the Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) designation.

Space is limited. Invite your members to register today.

* Some exceptions apply.

CMA members have access to faster, better answers — and save $2,000 a year

Let your members know that a number of high-quality evidence-based clinical resources are included in Canadian Medical Association (CMA) membership including access to 13,000+ videos and 5 million+ images, 4,300+ monographs for Canadian drugs, 4,800+ clinical topics summarized and available at the point-of-care, and 1,200+ textbooks.

Physicians can practice with confidence with the following top 3 CMA clinical resources:

  • ClinicalKey: Books, journals, multimedia, patient education and more.
  • DynaMed: Evidence-based point-of-care summaries.
  • The CPS (Rx) and Drug Choices (Tx) apps

Invite your members to take a tour today.

Every physician has a story: MD Financial Management

In April 2015, MD launched its Brand Awareness marketing campaign with the tagline, “Every physician has a story.” The campaign provides physicians an opportunity to hear, first-hand, about the experiences that MD clients have had, and the benefits they have gained in using MD’s services. This past month, the campaign added two new testimonials that highlight how MD meets the specific needs of each of its clients.

One of the featured stories introduces Nathanael Turner, who entered medical school in a unique and challenging financial situation. You can listen to Nathanael talking about his experience with MD and the ability it gave him to manage family life, as well as his finances.

All 18 videos with the MD advocates’ stories can be found in French and in English on the “Testimonials” landing page of the MD website. Check out this page to “hear more” of what our physicians have to say about MD!

Upcoming events in your province or territory

Date Event City Province Details
22-23 OctQuebec College of Family PhysiciansMontrealQuebecMD/CMA Sponsoring & Exhibiting
22-25-OctInternational Conference on Residency Education/International Resident Leadership SummitVancouverBCMD/CMA
22-24-OctNewfoundland College of Family PhysiciansGanderNFLMD/CMA Sponsoring & Exhibiting
24-25-OctBritish Columbia College of Family PhysiciansVancouverBCMD/CMA Sponsoring & Exhibiting
28-OctFemale Physician Series 2WaterlooONMD Seminar
4-NovPrivate screening of SPECTRESaskatoonSKClient Appreciation
5-NovPrivate screening of SPECTRELondonONClient Appreciation
7-NovPrivate Screening of PeanutsOttawaONClient appreciation
7-NovPrivate Screening of PeanutsHalifaxNSClient appreciation
7-NovPrivate Screening of PeanutsDieppeNBClient appreciation
7-NovPrivate Screening of PeanutsSt. John’sNFLClient appreciation
7-NovYukon Medical Association Annual General MeetingWhitehorseYKMD/CMA
7-NovOntario Association of General Surgeons TorontoONMD Sponsoring
12-14 NovFamily Medicine ForumTorontoONMD/CMA
18-NovFemale Physician Series 3WaterlooON MD Seminar
21-NovClinical Care Conference 2015MontrealQCMD Sponsoring and exhibiting
19-DecPrivate screenings of Star WarsVarious locationsVarious locationsClient Appreciation

For additional information please contact Natalie Theriault.