01 Dec

Disability Tax Credit

Many of you may have had patients asking you to sign the Disability Tax Credit form after being  told by a private company that they qualify.  These companies charge a significant commission to the patient for assisting them through the process,  and after a number of complaints, CRA has proposed the Disability Tax Credit Promoter’s Restriction Act. 

This will affect physicians, and the CMA has prepared a Disability Tax Credit briefing note and is asking for comment.  SGP will forward any feedback we receive to the CMA.

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01 Dec

Proposed CRA Changes to GST/HST may affect you

In the 2013 federal budget,  amendments to  the Excise Tax Act were made that  affect GST/HST.  After considerable delay, Canada Revenue Agency has issued a GST_HST_DraftPolicy outlining how CRA plans to apply GST/HST to uninsured physician services. The Canadian Medical Association briefing note Changes to GST-HST Application summarises this well.  You may want to review with your accountant how these changes affect you.

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09 Oct

Rx Renewals in LTC

Beginning Oct 1, 2014 pharmacists will be following a new protocol when sending you prescription renewals for patients in LTC.   You can read about it here.   

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06 Oct

Update: Provincial Privileging Project

The GP Expert Panel has been meeting to work on the Provincial Privileging Dictionary which will outline the  credentials required  to be granted privileges in hospital and residential care facilities in BC.  Members  were chosen to ensure representation of the diversity of care provided in facilities by GPs as well as to reflect the differing needs of rural, suburban and urban practitioners.  Stay up to date and offer your comments on the work so far by following the Provincial Privileging Blog.

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07 Jun

Telemedicine—an adjunct to comprehensive care; not an end in itself

The College of Physicians and Surgeons notes that:

“Physicians are accountable every time they decide that a physical examination is not required.

Telemedicine has the potential to reduce the risk of error by providing physicians with considerably more information. However, a decision to rely on a virtual visit to conclude a medical assessment for an acute concern will always be a high stakes one, which requires thoughtful consideration and superior clinical judgment.

The College’s depth and breadth of experience reviewing physician practices and investigating complaints indicates that telemedicine will add value for patients and providers if it forms part of an integrated whole, such as a full-service primary care clinic, a provincial or regional specialty service, or a robust outreach program for people living in remote locations. Significant risk is anticipated if physicians attempt to use telemedicine to provide episodic services in isolation to patients they are not familiar with. Telemedicine holds great promise as an adjunct to well-organized systems of care. Without the support of such systems, it is expected that telemedicine will be neither efficient nor safe.”

– (The College Connector Volume 2 | No. 3 | May / June 2014)

For more information see:

May/June 2014 College of Physicians and Surgeons article on Telemedicine

The College’s professional standard Telemedicine

An editorial in the BCMJ by Deputy Registrar Dr. W.R. Vroom, titled:
Does telemedicine need stricter rules for engagement?


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01 Jun

2014 SGP AGM

Thanks to all our members who attended the SGP AGM May 31 and provided support and feedback to the organisation.  It’s always a surprise how many of you are willing to be up for a 7:30 am Saturday morning!  Our officers for 2014 were introduced and their names may seem familiar: Lawrence Welsh, President;  Ken Burns, President elect; Ernie Chang, Treasurer; and Elizabeth Rhoades, Secretary.  They all wanted to commit to another year in their positions, and were acclaimed after the call to the membership for nominations.  Let us know what you’d like to see the SGP do for you in the coming year:

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01 Mar

Does telemedicine need stricter rules for engagement?

Dr. Vroom of the College of Physicians and Surgeons notes in this month’s BCMJ: “In some circumstances telemedicine can provide a valuable medical service to communities with scarce physician resources, despite its diagnostic and treatment limitations. However, the question remains: How should telemedicine evolve in urban settings and how should it be funded? In my opinion, it is up to the primary care physician to determine how best to provide care in specific circumstances, be it face-to-face, by telephone, by telemedicine, or by e-mail. Telemedicine has tremendous potential value in enhancing comprehensive longitudinal care and should not result in more fragmented care. The implementation of this technology deserves a sophisticated utilization strategy. As for public funding, would it not be best for physician remuneration to be based on comprehensive patient care rather than on the modality used to service patients?”

Read the full article

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20 Jan

Electronic Signatures on Prescriptions

Health Canada considers a unique electronic signature to be equivalent to a paper and pen signature. This is also the position of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons and the BC College of Pharmacists.

The BC College of Pharmacists notes that:

“Electronic prescriptions are only permitted if the electronic prescriber’s signature is unique. Health Canada considers a unique electronic signature to be equivalent to a paper and pen signature. Therefore the signature must be a fresh new signature written on the prescription with an electronic pen pad, similar to signing a pen and paper prescription. Cutting and pasting a signature into an electronic prescription is not permitted.”

“To ensure that that the signature is unique, the pharmacist should compare the signature each time with an old prescription. Pharmacists should note that the prescriber’s signature should be slightly different on each prescription if it is unique. If you do not have an old prescription to compare or have any doubts as to whether the signature on the prescription is unique, please call the prescriber to verify whether they sign a new original electronic signature for each new prescription. A computer-generated prescription, given to the patient or faxed to the pharmacy, must have an original prescriber’s signature.”

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