COVID-19 information for physicians
updated on: July 8, 2020, 4pm
The Pathways homepage banner has the latest COVID-19 updates every day. Pathways hosts key patient and physician resources including up-to-date information and referral forms in the specialty category "COVID care". COVID-19 patient resources can be sent directly to patients from a new no-reply email.
If you have questions or need any support, please email us at email@example.com
We are sending out COVID-19 updates to all members as new information becomes available. View these updates here.
Click the links for more COVID-related information (selected from our COVID-19 updates):
Local clinical resources
Clinics and referral forms
- The South Island Obstetrics & Gynecology Division informs how they currently run offices and clinics.
- The 13 new online CBT Skills Groups over the summer still have many spots available for your referrals. Please reach out to patients who might benefit. The referral form can be found on Pathways. The Times Colonist featured the groups yesterday. (June 10)
- Log into Pathways to view BC Cancer Agency updates on screening mammography centres and the mobile service who are now re-booking appointments for June and beyond.(June 2)
- Island Health's Child and Youth Psychiatry has a new Urgent Response Team program to provide rapid outpatient/virtual support during the pandemic to children and youth with acute deterioration in their mental health. More under Clinic Updates on the Pathways homepage. (May 7)
- Foundry Victoria (Addiction Medicine, Family Practice, and Psychiatry: Child and Youth ages 12-24) offers virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat to young people and their caregivers. More under Clinic Updates on the Pathways homepage. (May 7)
- The on call Pediatricians advise of current care options including the Urgent Pediatric Assessment Clinic (UPAC) in their letter here. The referral form for the VGH UPAC clinic can be found here and on Pathways. (April 24)
- Island Health now uses new remote patient monitoring technology to support people with mild to moderate COVID-19, and to prioritize populations most at risk of deterioration and poor outcomes. (April 15)
- Non-COVID patients with urgent MSK issues can be helped safely at RebalanceMD instead of going to the ER. View the referral criteria/types of cases the urgent access clinic can see. Patients can phone directly to arrange an urgent appointment. (April 6)
- Effective April 1st the Assessment Clinic will have two locations: One at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre and one at the Peninsula Health Unit. To refer, fax the referral form to 250-475-7656. View the full Island Health memo here. (April 1)
COVID-19 Task Force and PPE
- The Victoria and South Island Divisions have a limited amount of PPE available for members on a first come, first served basis. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to access it. More details on steps to source PPE from your Division, suppliers and Island Health can be found here. (June 24)
- Please read the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs’ memo on next steps with CAPE, High Risk and testing clinics. (June 18)
- The Victoria and South Island Divisions of Family Practice have put together steps you can take to source PPE. More (June 15)
- A word document is available to easily adapt the safety plan template from the “The Doctor is In” guide for your individual office. (June 5)
- Your PSP coordinators can help you craft your safety plan. They will attend the Q&A at the May 28 The Doctor is In – Part 2 webinar. Please register here before Wednesday, May 27, at 9pm. (May 27)
- Join the interactive zoom meeting The Doctor is In – Part 2, hosted by Drs Aaron Childs and Jaron Easterbrook for Victoria and South Island Divisions of Family Practice members on Thursday, May 28, from 5:30-7pm. Please register here before Wednesday, May 27, at 9pm. (May 25)
- Please read the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs’ May 21 memo. This Friday, May 22 from 12-12:30pm, the Victoria and South Island Divisions of Family Practice will be hosting a zoom webinar "The Doctor is In" to run you through the DoBC's new one-stop information resource "The Doctor is In: Recommendations for expanding in-person care in community-based physician practices". Please register here. A follow-up Q&A session is scheduled for next Thursday, May 28, from 5:30-7pm (registration link will follow early next week). (May 21)
- Please read the memo from the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs about expanding in-person care, on the Task Force's next steps, and on PPE. (May 15)
- View the May 13 memo from the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs. As per today's briefing by Dr. Henry, we are expected to continue to offer essential services.
An updated patient flow chart with obstetrics included is available here.
- View the May 11 memo from the Task Force co-chairs.
- View the May 6 memo from the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs. (May 6)
- View the CAPE and Referral clinics page (with forms including MedAccess) on this website.
- View today’s memo from the COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs with an updated patient flow diagram and information on the new sli.do forum. (May 4)
- In response to member inquiries on supplies please be aware of these two organizations:
- Read the member memo on process and future from our local COVID-19 Task Force co-chairs with graphical flow sheets “Patient Flow in the time of COVID-19” and “Obstetrical and Sexual Health care in the time of COVID-19” and a new online tool to start the dialogue what is needed to help you see patients in your office again and to support longer-term practice changes, if desired. (April 29)
- View the Victoria and South Island Divisions co-chairs' memo on PPE, assessments and CAPE clinics. (April 17)
- Ensuring your practice survives COVID-19: Read the community FP memo from Drs Aaron Childs (Victoria) and Jaron Easterbrook (South Island) on why your referrals for physical examinations to CAPE clinics absolutely matter for safety, and why and how to do proactive patient outreach now. (April 15)
- A comprehensive COVID-19 primary care package: Preparing your family practice for COVID-19 is now available here. This is a working document that has been prepared by Drs Aaron Childs (VDFP) and Jaron Easterbrook (SIDFP). (March 19)
Labs and prescriptions
- All Life Labs Centres will be open as of May 26, 2020, but some may have reduced hours. Please remind your patients to check online for hours. Life Labs will continue to use their central fax requisition number 1-888-674-0370.
- Tips for efficient and safe prescriptions: London Drugs advises of the best ways to ensure prescriptions are filled efficiently with social distancing being maintained, especially for the vulnerable and elderly:
- FPs fax prescription to patient’s pharmacy of choice; most pharmacies offer free delivery to patients
- Refills and chronic meds take about one day to fill (wholesalers are rationing stock, which causes delays)
- Mark any acute prescriptions, such as pain or discharge orders “RUSH” for immediate dispensing
- Write down CWR (call when ready); pharmacy will notify patients to avoid unnecessary patient trips. (March 25)
- FPs fax prescription to patient’s pharmacy of choice; most pharmacies offer free delivery to patients
- The latest local lab updates can be found here. The PHO also released a provincial list of operational lab changes.
- The Victoria Division put together a combined list of Lab and Medical Imaging locations that are still open, along with the hours and contact information.
- The Victoria Division put together a combined list of Lab and Medical Imaging locations that are still open, along with the hours and contact information.
- Exemptions for prescriptions: verbal prescription allowed. Health Canada has issued temporary exemptions for prescriptions of controlled substances: Prescribers can now verbally issue prescriptions of controlled substances; pharmacists can extend and renew these prescriptions and transfer them to other pharmacists; and pharmacy employees can deliver to patients. More here. (March 30)
- Are you seeking Plan G coverage for psychiatric medications for your patients during the COVID pandemic? A verbal declaration from the patient is currently sufficient as part of the Pharmacare application form, if the physician signs the form and indicates that they witnessed the patient's verbal declaration. (April 7)
Telemedicine (more: Telemedicine page)
- A new doxy.me discount code is now available for members who have not yet signed up and wish to make use of discounted access. Please contact email@example.com for the code. (March 25). See also our telemedicine page.
- Zoom for Healthcare licenses at no cost are now available to BC physicians. The provincial government is funding a total of 10,000 licenses for providers. If you would like to upgrade from the free zoom version to the more secure Healthcare version or are still looking for a videoconferencing tool, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free license. (April 20)
Local news and opportunities (non-Island Health)
- RACE has a new specialty - 'Psychiatry - Sexual Medicine (Vancouver Island)'. Dr. Shauna Correia (Psychiatry) will be providing coverage effective May 4th. Gary Clarke has taken over local RACE support and can be reached at email@example.com (May 6)
- Are you interested to be an assessment clinic for the Practice Ready Assessment (PRA-BC) Return of Service Program? Applications for a PRA candidate will be accepted until May 13, 2020, 12pm. PRA-BC is an assessment program for internationally educated family physicians who have completed family medicine residencies outside of Canada. It is separate from the UBC IMG program. There are four candidates for the province (two for rural and two for urban areas). Click for more info. (May 4)
- The application deadline for the UBC IMG Family Practice Return of Service Residents Program is on May 15, 2020. Fourteen UBC International Medical Graduate Family Practice Return of Service residents will be available for placement in Vancouver Island clinics in the summer 2021. Clinics need to submit their application to firstname.lastname@example.org. More.
- The Division is funding 30 seats for the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training (College of Family Physicians of Canada certified for up to 20 CME credits). It’s more important than ever to ensure that Cultural Safety & Humility is at the fore front of care during these stressful times. Read more here and email Becky Litt at email@example.com to register. (May 4)
- VDFP member Dr. Bill Bullock was interviewed for the Times Colonist article Crisis in the shadows: Convergence of pandemic and opioid-overdose emergency on safe supply prescriptions and the great work of the VDFP-supported Victoria Inner City Covid Response working group led by Dr. Anne Nguyen. May 4)
- We continue to spread the word that doctor offices are open. An opinion article Family doctors reassure Greater Victoria patients they’re not a bother by the Victoria and South Island Divisions' co-chairs got published today. Over the past weeks, Drs Aaron Childs and Kathy Dabrus gave eight interviews in conjunction with the DoBC awareness campaigns, which were covered by Times Colonist, CTV News, CHEK News, CBC, CFAX 1070 and other local media outlets, and we keep sharing the message on our facebook page.
- Helping your clinic with patient outreach:
New outreach tools for physicians are available to make patients aware that doctor offices are (virtually) open during COVID-19, and to let patients know that if they need care, they should call their doctor first. Click here to view an email template, a phone script for MOA follow-up calls, content and templates you can use on your social media, and a virtual care poster. The Division has been doing media outreach in alignment with the DoBC campaign to share the message. (April 7)
Tell us what you need for your patient outreach. We know that many of you are looking for ways to connect with your patients and want to find out how the Division can help. Please fill in our brief feedback form. (April 20)
- Is your clinic closed and you have extra Personal Protective Equipment? Please bring any available PPE you may have to our attention for redistribution: firstname.lastname@example.org (March 23)
- Opportunities to support the local COVID-19 response are listed here (Addictions & Vulnerable Population, Island Health). (April 3)
Physician support, health, wellness
- Although the CMA has launched a new physician wellness support helpline, BC physicians are asked to continue to use BC’s Physician Health Program. If you contact the CMA’s new program, it will automatically redirect to the existing PHP program in BC. More (June 15)
- South Island MSA is offering island-wide Virtual Mindful Mondays from 8-9pm on June 15 and 29, and on July 13 and 27. Please email email@example.com for login details.
- Registration is open for the new physician-only CBT Skills Group exclusively for members of the Victoria and South Island Divisions of Family Practice. The 8-week virtual course is sponsored by the Victoria Division of Family Practice. Sessions are every Monday evening from June 22, 2020 to August 10, 2020, 7-9pm on Zoom for Healthcare. Mainpro+ credits available. Register here. (June 5)
- Are you willing to take on a local physician patient? The Victoria and South Island Divisions of Family Practice are collaborating with the Physician Health Program (PHP) to help attach physician patients to local family physicians. View the program here. The final decision to attach a particular physician patient is yours. If you are available to take on a physician patient or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by June 26, 2020. (May 27)
- The BCCFP has created resources to support FP resiliency and wellness during COVID-19: ABC123 Psychological First Aid Tool, Staying Well While Working from Home, Recognizing and Preventing Burnout During a Pandemic
- Join us for the next VDFP-SIDFP virtual peer support sessions on Tuesday, May 5 from 8:30-9am and Wednesday, May 6 from 5:30-6pm. Feel free to sign up for as many sessions as you like. View all upcoming sessions and register here. (May 4)
- New self-care resources for health care professionals from the Canadian Mental Health Association & Safe Care BC can be found here. (May 1)
- The BC Physician Health Program (PHP) is offering free drop-in COVID-19 Physician Peer Support Sessions every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 – 5 pm via Zoom. You can join by phone or video. (updated April 8)
- The students from the Island Medical Program reached out to thank you and offer support with any public health, lab, or research needs as well as with child-care, pet-care and grocery aid (shopping, delivery). Please indicate your interest here and feel free to bring up other areas of support - they may be able to help. (March 25)
- The Physician Health Program (PHP) has a 24/7 intake line and counselling staff who are standing by for your call in times of stress and burn-out. Call (1-800-663-6729) to speak to a trained Clinical Counsellor, or visit their website. (March 20)
Select Island Health information for family physicians
- Island Health has extended its alert for overdoses from opioids and stimulants, noting an increased risk through smoking. The updated overdose alert poster can be used in physical and digital locations as appropriate. (July 7)
- Island Health extended their overdose alert for another week and issued a weekly overview report. (June 22)
- Recommendations from Island Health for medical staff or locums coming from a region with higher COVID-19 prevalence can be found here. (June 22)
- BCCDC and Island Health updated their COVID-19 testing guidelines on June 18, which now include an expanded list of symptoms. (June 18)
- BC launched a new helpline at 778 945-7619 for health care providers that provides rapid 24/7 response for time-sensitive clinical substance-use inquiries. (June 18)
- Island Health COVID-19 emergency privileges will end on June 30.
- BCCDC issued COVID-19 guidance for families of immunocompromised children in schools and groups. (June 15)
- The BC Hypertension Group is inviting your participation in an 8-question UBC survey on Hypertension Screening, Diagnosis and Monitoring during COVID-19 by June 30. Some clinics have changed the way they measure and share BP readings during the pandemic. The survey will help identify changes and solutions for patients with restricted access to in-person care. More project/survey details here. A revised GPAC hypertension guideline will soon be available. (June 3)
- Updated June 1 BCCDC guidelines for COVID-19 testing including NP swabs are available here. (June 3)
- Island Health reminds of the MOST and eMOST documentation completion and submission processes. Community MOST is available in the electronic health record and you can fax the form for entry. (June 3)
- LTC physicians, please read the May 26 LTC bulletin with COVID-19 Q&A.
- The Victoria General Hospital hospital entrance for medical staff has changed. You will no longer be able to access the building via the South Main Entrance in support of physical distancing. Staff and medical staff entry points are the Oasis (North), the Cafeteria (North), and the Bike Locker (South). (May 22)
- Island Health’s Community Health Services (CHS) continue to be available during the pandemic and their referral and intake processes have not changed.
- LTC physicians, please read the May 19 LTC bulletin on COVID-19+ emergency teleconferencing and increasing in-person physician presence.(May 19)
- Medical Imaging is implementing its ramp up plan and working through the backlog based on priority. Please provide detailed clinical histories on requisitions to help radiologists triage effectively. More (May 20)
- Island Health will be resuming elective surgeries after the May long weekend. More information
- Island Health shared the BCCDC’s new April 29 Medical Imaging Dicussion Guide for referring practitioners and a guidance poster from the BC Medical Imaging Advisory Committee. (May 1)
- Island Health’s COVID-19 medical staff newsletter is open to FPs. If you are interested to read their full COVID-19 updates, email MEDStaffEngagement@viha.ca (April 29)
- The BCCDC issued new April 23 COVID -19 Testing Guidelines. Guidelines for specimen collection are included. (April 27)
- Island Health shared new laboratory requisition and labeling specimen guidance for clinicians collecting specimens from clients during COVID-19 response. (April 27)
- The James Bay Urgent and Primary Care Centre will open on Tue, April 28th. View the MOH’s news release. (April 24)
- Maternity doctors, you can find the April 16 Maternity Care Guidelines here.
- LTC physicians, please read the April 17 Long Term Care Communication Bulletin here.
- Virtual training on how to use EMR Connect to directly upload important patient care documents (e.g. patient summaries and MAiD) into Island Health's electronic record is now available through email@example.com. Check out the video. (April 17)
- Updated April 15 PPE guidance from Island Health: All health-care workers whose roles require direct contact with patients, clients and residents are advised to wear surgical/procedural masks when providing direct care to patients, clients and residents across Island Health. More (April 16)
- Health care workers (including medical staff and non-privileged community GPs) with possible COVID-19 symptoms can now call a centralized COVID-19 Testing Line, 1-844-901-8442. A nurse will review and if eligible will book for an appointment. More (April 16)
- Community physicians can fax their MOST forms to 1-250-740-2687 and Island Health will add the information to PowerChart. Please ensure to include the long-distance "1" so that your fax goes through, and remember there is a new MOST form that you can use. (April 7)
- For hospitalists: Island Health reminds of guidelines to manage confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients that would potentially require HLOC and transfer to a cohort unit. (April 7)
- A new Island Health MOST policy is now effective. A MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) is recommended for patients 19 years and older, where clinically relevant and appropriate. Community physicians are asked to use the new MOST form and fax it to 250-740-2687. (March 31)
- Medical Staff - physicians, resident physicians, nurse practitioners - are excluded from the PHO order to limit staff movement in Long Term Care facilities and private hospitals (PHO Order). However, medical staff should minimize the number of sites they visit. (March 30)
- The BCCDC issued updated pediatric COVID-19 testing guidelines on July 6.
- LTC physicians: Updated visitor restrictions for LTC and Assisted Living allow residents to see visitors, one person at a time. (July 2)
- BC Family Doctors have created two decision-making tools for virtual/in-person care:
- Beyond Essential Services in Primary Care - to balance the benefits and risks of in-person or virtual patient care, and
- Determining Clinical Appropriateness for Virtual Care Visits - to select the best modality for various patient care services. (July 2)
- The DTO is offering 1:1 and group Zoom for Healthcare training. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. (July 2)
- Please read the GPSC’s June 26 Divisions Dispatch with relevant provincial updates.
- BCCDC issued June 15 clinical guidance for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children temporarily associated with COVID-19. (June18)
- FNHA and PHSA have issued new guidance on Perinatal Health Cultural Safety. (June 18)
- Please read the June 12th Divisions Dispatch from GPSC with important provincial updates that will not be duplicated in our Victoria newsletter. (June 15)
- Updated BCCDC guidance for COVID-19 treatment was issued on June 1st.
- Dr. Bonnie Henry was profiled in the New York Times: The top doctor who aced the coronavirus test (June 5)
- CMA & Joule has launched a $1 Million COVID-19 Innovation Grant Program to support bright ideas in three categories: Wellness and Safety of Health Workers, Access to Care, and Population Health Solutions. Applications from physicians and medical students will be accepted until 9pm on June 21, 2020. (June 5)
- The recorded GOPSC/BC Family Doctors May 28 webinar on the temporary June 1 billing changes can now be viewed on YouTube. BC Family Doctors also has a new FAQ on Billing in the times of COVID-19 on their website. (June 5)
- The BCCDC issued new guidelines for Medical Imaging Services which include a section for referring practitioners. (June 5)
- The Primary and Integrated Healthcare Innovations Network Canada is inviting you to participate in its 6th 3-minute survey on the COVID-19 impact on your practice – this time focusing on finance. Results will be sent to provincial and federal policy makers. Responses are required by Monday, June 1 at 11:59pm. Take the quick COVID Primary Care Physician survey #6 here.
- Please take ten minutes to participate in UBC's PANdemic Virtual Care Study. A summary of the results from Victoria Division physicians will be shared with the Division so that we can understand your unique needs and plan for next steps. Help us understand how to best support you! (June 1)
- Please read the GPSC’s May 29 Divisions Dispatch with provincial information that will not be duplicated in our newsletter.
- The College of Family Physicians of Canada and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada have waived their continuing professional development and maintenance of certification requirements for this year. (June 1)
- The BCCDC issued May 15 Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Guidance for Community Providers, and on May 14 a PHO Order on workplace COVID-19 Safety Plans was issued. Please note that the DoBC's new "The Doctor is In" information resource on re-opening compiles key points from the many new guidelines into one document for physicians. (May 21)
- Please read the GPSC’s May 19 Divisions Dispatch with important re-opening and fee code information and more that will not be duplicated in the VDFP update.(May 20)
- The Pathways Virtual Care Directory is now live and featured in the blue box at the top of your Pathways login page. Victoria and South Island Divisions issued a news release and were interviewed by CBC today.(May 13)
- DTO has put together a companion Getting Patients Back to Practice Guide with step-by-step clinical workflow recommendations, examples of the kinds of visits that could be done virtually vs. in-clinic, sample communication templates and tips how to re-build clinical visit volumes through proactive outreach. (May 13)
- View a DTO quick guide to assessing patients by video or voice call. (May 13)
- A one-time subsidy ($150 value) for e-faxing solutions is now available through GPSC. Complete the online application and read more here until August. (May 11)
- UBC’s REAKT: Rapid Evidence and Knowledge Translation during COVID-19 is now open to all providers with COVID-19 questions. Ask your question here. See more info and sample questions & answers here. (May 7)
- Pathways’ COVID-19 care specialty category now hosts Tips and Red Flags for FPs Caring for Cardiovascular Patients during Pandemic by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. (May7)
- The Business Cost Premium (BCP) has been temporarily expanded (effective May 1st) to apply to telehealth fee items, including phone and video communication with patients. More info from DoBC here. (May 4)
- View a new DTO video (and a slide deck here) on how to use MailChimp for patient outreach by email and Fongo Works for patient outreach by phone. Templates for emails and calls can be found here. (May 1)
- Your PSP coordinator is available to help with individual office support to increase number of visits through IMIT, telehealth options, workflow changes and patient outreach. Now is also a great time to complete the PMH assessment and start panel work. PSP-supported quality improvement work is eligible for compensation and CME. Connect with your local PSP contact or email RSP@viha.ca. (May 1)
- Physicians & MOA Peers are available for one-on-one Virtual Care Coaching as part of the Virtual Care Support Network. They can help with virtual care and outreach workflow optimization. Please email DTOinfo@doctorsofbc.ca to request one-on-one support. (May 1)
- The Doctors of BC COVID-19 web page now has a “Answers to FAQs” section by themes such as PPE, telemedicine, sick notes and more. This new section is located at the bottom of their dedicated COVID-19 page. (April 29)
- COVID-19 and Cancer Treatments: Visit www.bccancer.bc.ca for up-to-date information for patients and www.bccancer.bc.ca/covid19guidelines for provider COVID-19 information in Cancer Care. Also view their Family Practice Oncology Network. (April 29)
- The BC College of Family Physicians’ provincial campaign "Your family doctor is in" which includes TV, digital and social media ads launched earlier this week, following the earlier DoBC campaign.(April 20)
- Clinical guidance, tools, and links for health providers caring for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto can be found here. (April 15)
- New Doctor’s Technology Office guidelines for e-faxing while working remotely can be accessed here.
- New outreach tools for physicians from DoBC are available to make patients aware that doctor offices are (virtually) open during COVID-19, and to let patients know that if they need care, they should call their doctor first. Click here to view an email template, a phone script for MOA (April 7)
- An online forum for physicians to engage with each other to discuss innovative COVID-19 ideas and solutions is now available through DoBC here. (March 25)
- A DoBC summary of small business and individual income supports for physicians is available here. (April 2)
- The British Medical Journal has created a visual guide to assessing possible covid-19 via telephone or video. (April 6)
- The latest COVID-19 updates and statistics, the self-assessment tool plus trusted resources and alerts for the public are available at https://bc.thrive.health. (March 25)
- RoadSafetyBC is temporarily suspending the issuance of Driver Medical Examination Reports (DMER), along with any outstanding DMERs and other medical requirements. Physicians are still asked to report the highest-risk medically compromised drivers to RoadSafetyBC through Section 230 of the Motor Vehicle Act, and are asked to do so with as much information as possible to enable swift action by the Superintendent. For physicians needing to contact RoadSafetyBC during this time, please use the physician-only telephone line: 1-250-953-8612. (March 20)