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November eNews: Message From the Executive Director & Board Director

Alberta’s Primary Care Alliance: Influencing Health Policy and System Improvements

There are three ways to influence and have impact – Role, Relationships, and Expertise

The Alberta College of Family Physicians is an active partner in Alberta’s Primary Care Alliance (PCA). We have two seats at this table occupied by Dr. Sonya Lee, ACFP Board Member and Terri Potter, ACFP Executive Director.

The PCA vision is to connect islands of family physician leadership to help lead and engage in health care system transformation in Alberta. The PCA has gained the ability to influence:

  1. Through its formalization of the PCA role as a point of contact to the complex primary care system in Alberta,
  2. the collective expertise it has within it through its membership, and
  3. through the solid relationships that it has developed over the years.

Collaboration is Key

With the strength and support of the member organizations, the Alberta College of Family Physicians, AMA’s Section of General Practice & Section of Rural Medicine, Primary Care Networks of Alberta, and Academic Family Medicine, we are able to share expertise and diverse perspectives to think critically and strategically toward unique solutions.We then act collectively and as individual organizations toward that common vision and strategy using tactics that fit with our organizational mandates, resources and relationships. The membership of the Alliance is:

  • Section of General Practice president: Dr. Darryl D. LaBuick
  • Section of Rural Medicine president: Dr. Edward Aasman
  • PCN Physician Leads’ Executive chair: Dr. Jeffrey Bratvold
  • AMA Board of Directors: Drs. Tobias Gelber and Howard Evans
  • Alberta College of Family Physicians: Dr. Sonya Lee and Terri Potter
  • Academic representative: Dr. Lee Green
  • PCA Chair: Dr. Brad Bahler

The PCA’s current priorities are the implementation of the Vision of the Patient’s Medical Home and to increase the integration and effectiveness of the health system. To that end, the member organizations have each carved off their areas of influence and assigned resources to advance their part of the solution.
The ACFP has been a key player in providing expertise and influence in areas such as continuing professional development, clinical leadership, evidence-based decision making, primary care and family medicine research, quality improvement, and the awareness of the value of the family physician. Our relationships outside the PCA have been invaluable in this work:

If you as a member of the ACFP would like to talk about the work of the ACFP and its role at the Primary Care Alliance, please feel free to reach Dr. Sonya Lee or Terri Potter. Several members of the PCA will also be available during the upcoming Family Medicine Summit (Formerly ASA) in Banff on March 1-3, 2019 and would be willing to sit over a coffee or meal.

Sonya Lee, BSc, MD, CCFP, MHSc, FCFP
ACFP Board Director, PCA Representative
Terri Potter, BA PMP CAE
ACFP Executive Director, PCA Representative

New rules for MAID reporting now in effect

AHS Care Coordination Service will receive all reports

On Nov. 1, 2018, the Government of Canada’s new Monitoring of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Regulations came into effect. The regulations apply only to MAID requests received on or after this date. Requests in progress before Nov. 1, 2018 are not subject to the new rules.

Physicians and Nurse Practitioners are now required to file reports at each step in the MAID process, including when they receive a request for MAID. Pharmacists who dispense any substance for MAID will also be required to report basic information.

To streamline reporting:

  • all practitioners will report through the AHS Care Coordination Service
  • forms already in use are being updated to incorporate the federal requirements

The AHS Care Coordination Service will manage data collection on behalf of the MAID Regulatory Review Committee, for reporting to the Minister of Alberta Health and Health Canada as applicable. As well as making it easier for practitioners, this process will provide a safeguard against non-compliance with the regulations, enacted under the Criminal Code.

Practitioners who provide MAID are also required to submit specific information to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner within 24 hours of the patient’s death.

To access the forms, go to the AHS website and click on the Forms tab. Links to a MAID Reporting summary and required forms are posted there. A secure RightFax has been set up to submit completed forms to the AHS Care Coordination Service.

More information and resources are available in the CPSA Physician Portal under Additional Resources.

Questions about MAID reporting? Email


What’s Up Doc Research Showcase – Call for Research Abstracts Is Now Open!

Submit Your Oral Presentation and Poster Abstracts Today

Deadline: November 29, 2018

  • No limit to the number of abstracts an author may submit
  • One abstract form is required for each abstract being submitted
  • This event is a forum for presentation and dissemination of research. Recruitment, marketing of products, services or software is not allowed. Abstracts should not contain any references or acknowledgements.
  • Submissions will be peer reviewed. The Research Review Committee will evaluate and score each abstract based on the following criteria: Relevance and importance to family medicine; Relevance to primary care research and researchers; Innovation/originality; Clear, well-written description, well-defined objectives and appropriate learning methods/style
  • Research Review Committee reserves the right to decide the presentation format of your submission, and may also limit the number of oral presentations for each presenter.

Download the Submission Guidelines for more information.


Decisions for acceptance will be finalized by January 8, 2019. A list of successful abstracts will be posted on the ACFP website on January 9.

Contact Details
Please contact Lorrainne Dubois with any questions you may have.
Phone: 780-701-9715 or 1-800-361-0607 (Ext. 205)


You’ve been invited to join a scientific planning committee: Now what?

Your role in certified program development
With the recent changes CFPC has made in establishing firm quality criteria for programs seeking Mainpro+ certification, the need for planning committees with superb skill and knowledge capacities is essential to a highly functional CPD system.

If you’ve been invited to join a committee to plan a certified CPD program, and will be attending FMF 2018, this workshop presented by Drs. Jamie Meuser, Christie Newton and Rick Ward is for you – W160 You’ve been invited to join a scientific planning committee: Now what?
FMF 2018 – Toronto, November 14-17

Message from the President

Read Full eNews

This month, as we honor our award winners, I am reminded of the hard work and dedication of so many around the province in delivering care to our patients every day. Our awards recognize that family physicians, both experienced and newer in practice, have so much to contribute to enhancing primary care delivery in our province.

The ACFP’s Outstanding Family Practice award winners remind us that it takes a team to practice medicine and exemplify how working as a team with a common goal of improving the care our patients receive make a difference in our communities. We also acknowledge those who have committed time to helping the ACFP further our role of influencing and improving the delivery of primary care throughout Alberta. It is important to recognize that improving the well-being of Albertans takes the efforts of not just our past and present honorees but every one of us putting forth our expertise and compassion to ensure Albertans get the care they need.

Earlier this month, we hosted another successful PEIP conference. Over 600 attendees, who took part in person and remotely by Webcast, experienced two days of stimulating learning that they can carry forward to their colleagues and practices throughout the province, and the country. Congratulations to the Planning Committee and Staff.

I would like to remind you to save the date for the ACFP’s Family Medicine Summit (formerly known as Annual Scientific Assembly) being held in Banff on March 1-3, 2019. This popular conference is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, representatives from the College. Join us and experience three days of excellent learning opportunities and to celebrate excellence in family practice. The planning committee is working hard finalizing a program that will be relevant to your practice and provide an opportunity to ‘connect, learn and celebrate’. Registration for the Summit opens in mid-November!

Please contact me any time at

Vishal Bhella, MD, CCFP
Alberta College of Family Physicians

The Highs and Lows of Medical Cannabis

Tools and Supports for Primary Care

In 2017, the ACFP with their collaboration with the PEER group, published three Tools for Practice articles.

Simplified guideline for prescribing medical cannabinoids in primary care

Objective To develop a clinical practice guideline for a simplified approach to medical cannabinoid use in primary care; the focus was on primary care application, with a strong emphasis on best available evidence and a promotion of shared, informed decision making.

The Evidence Review Group performed a detailed systematic review of 4 clinical areas with the best evidence around cannabinoids: pain, nausea and vomiting, spasticity, and adverse events. Nine health professionals (2 generalist family physicians, 2 pain management–focused family physicians, 1 inner-city family physician, 1 neurologist, 1 oncologist, 1 nurse practitioner, and 1 pharmacist) and a patient representative comprised the Prescribing Guideline Committee (PGC), along with 2 nonvoting members (pharmacist project managers). Member selection was based on profession, practice setting, location, and lack of financial conflicts of interest.

The guideline process was iterative through content distribution, evidence review, and telephone and online meetings. The PGC directed the Evidence Review Group to address and provide evidence for additional questions as needed. The key recommendations were derived through consensus of the PGC. The guideline was drafted, refined, and distributed to a group of clinicians and patients for feedback, then refined again and finalized by the PGC.

Now Certified! PEIP is over 75% sold out!

The PEIP Conference has sold out every year!

Don’t miss your opportunity to join ACFP and the PEER team this October for the popular PEIP Conference in Edmonton. Register today and save before prices increase on September 29.

Registrations are available online only and the deadline for registrations is October 12, 2018.


Session Spotlight: Begone Evidence Nihilist: Some primary care interventions that really work

Sometimes, in trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of evidence, we have to spend so much time debunking exaggerated claims of effectiveness that we forget about all of the advances we’ve made and continue to make in modern medicine. This talk will review some of the greatest medical achievements in terms of prolonging human life, why they’re still so important, and the interventions we are making now that not only prolong life, but quality of life.

Planning committee member, Tony Nickonchuk, closes this year’s conference on a happy note: What you’re doing does make a difference!

Session Spotlight: It’s Okay to Get ANALgesic About Pain: Non-opioid solutions for chronic pain

Treatment of chronic pain can sometimes feel like running around in circles, leading us to question if we are doing the right thing. This talk will review what evidence currently out there for chronic pain which, we hope, will confirm that you’re on the right track or affect your current approach to managing pain.

Our newest planning committee member, Danielle Perry, and team member Joey Ton, keep it pain-free during this session on the evidence in chronic pain and the struggles encountered with interpretation.


Earn Up to 13.0 Credits!

This Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Alberta Chapter for up to 13.0 Mainpro+ credits.

Please note: You must attend both the pre-conference workshop and the full conference to be eligible for the full 13.0 credits.


Accommodations at the DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton

Reserve a room before Thursday, October 4 to take advantage of the conference rate. When booking your accommodations, please reference “PEC” or book online now.

Enhancements to Engage Primary Care, ACFP’s Leader Registry

Alberta’s health care system is constantly evolving and primary care is being asked more and more to provide advice and input on these changes.

To ensure the voice of family physicians is heard when these requests come in, we have created the Engage Primary Care portal–a way to link requesters to those physicians who want to be engaged. In order for it to be a success, though, we need you!

Taking 10 minutes of your time to fill out the family physician engagement form helps us identify the leaders within our communities–those physicians who want to have some sort of an impact or a voice in how primary care works in Alberta. Whether you want to be on province-wide committees or would rather complete an occasional survey, whether you have a specific clinical interest or have some non-clinical ideas you’d like to share, we want you to be part of our Leadership Registry.

Have you already filled out the form and been engaged? We’d still like to hear from you as we have added some more questions to the registry. Contact Adam at either or 587-525-8440 to update your information.

Engage Primary Care is a partnership between the Alberta College of Family Physicians, the Alberta Medical Association, Alberta Health Services, the Strategic Clinical Networks™ and the Primary Care Alliance.

Call for Volunteers!

Student Information Sessions at the University of Alberta

Once a year the ACFP organizes a student-family physician meet and greet luncheon or dinner. The event provides a great opportunity for students to meet and speak with practising family physicians. The informal setting is the perfect place for students to ask doctors the really tough questions.

Call for Volunteers: Edmonton and Area Doctors and Residents!

Share Your Passion for Family Medicine and Volunteer at Our Student Information Sessions.
The Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP) will be hosting an evening information session for first- and second-year medical students at the University of Alberta on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 5:15pm. We are looking for volunteers located from communities in northern Alberta, including Red Deer.

ACFP’s Student Information Sessions at the University of Alberta

5:15pm – 8pm, Tuesday, October 30, 2018 (dinner will be provided)

Katz Centre for Pharmacy and Health at the University of Alberta

How It Works
A physician and/or resident will be assigned a room with a small group students (approximately eight to 10 students/group) for dinner. This will provide an opportunity for medical students to meet with family physicians and residents in an informal, relaxed, and interactive manner to ask questions about careers in family practice and/or family medicine residency. There is no set agenda and the discussion will be based on the questions the students have for you. All we request is that you share with students your perspective about and passion for family medicine.

Why We Need You
Evaluations from previous sessions have been very positive and this event helps to develop student awareness about the scope, diversity, and benefits of choosing a career in family practice.

Sign Up Now
For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, contact Susan Soufi at (780) 701-9716 or by email.

Important HIV PrEP update: No cost for high-risk individuals

On October 1, Alberta will make generic versions of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available at no cost to individuals at high risk of HIV acquisition.

In order for a client to be covered, the medication must be prescribed by health professionals who have demonstrated specific knowledge in HIV prevention, and have registered with Alberta Health Services as a Designated PrEP Prescriber.

PrEP Prescriber Status Form

If you are physician or other health professional with specific knowledge in HIV prevention and are interested in becoming a Designated PrEP Prescriber, please fill out the Application for Designated PrEP Prescriber Status form.

Visit the AHS website for more information including the list of designated prescribers, treatment eligibility and PrEP guidelines.

Interested in learning more about prescribing HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

AHS will deliver a number of webinars to assist physicians in making this transition.

Prescribing HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) AHS Module
Learning Objectives:

  • On completion of this module, participants will be able to:
  • Understand and describe the key eligibility criteria for PrEP
  • Describe key components required to safely prescribe PrEP
  • Describe key components to monitoring a patient on PrEP
  • Indicate the rationale for referral to a specialist
  • Identify how to safely discontinue PrEP

Webinar Dates

  • November 8 at noon
  • November 26 and 28


Lindsay Bertholet, Director of STI Services
Communicable Disease Control Population, Public & Indigenous Health, Alberta Health Services

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