BC falls behind other provinces on health care reform
Calls for introduction of PAs into BC Health System intensify as new government takes office.
British Columbia – October 2020 – Congratulating the Horgan government for their re-election, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) called for the BC government to follow the lead of most other provinces in Canada and introduce PAs into the province’s health care system.
“I recently moved to British Columbia with my family after working as a Physician Assistant (PA) in the Canadian Armed Forces for 23 years,” said Eric Demers, CAPA’s board of directors, Past President and previous BC Director. “If the province allowed PAs to practice here, myself and others would be able to help fight COVID-19 in our ED’s, hospitals and in long-term care homes. It doesn’t make sense that we can’t.”
PAs are clinicians who are educated in the medical school model and practice medicine under the direct supervision of a licensed physician, often within a multidisciplinary health team. These highly skilled health professionals can work in any clinical setting to extend a doctor’s reach, complement existing services, and help improve patient access to care.
Around the world and in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and in the Canadian Armed Forces, PAs are already key members of integrated health care teams. However, PAs are not currently recognized in BC and cannot work despite the need for more trained health professionals. A recent study by the Conference Board of Canada reports that if more PAs were working with physicians in Canada wait times would drop, care would improve and the health system could save money.
“PAs are changing the face of health care across Canada and around the Globe. It’s time to add them to our health care teams in British Columbia,” said Demers.
For more information on CAPA visit https://capa-acam.ca/
Media Contact: Patrick Nelson
Telephone number: 613-248-2272
The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants is a nationally incorporated bilingual professional association that advocates on behalf of its members at the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors which represents Physician Assistants (PA), PA students, and other members across Canada and internationally. CAPA has members in all national regions as well as the Canadian Forces sharing a desire to help develop Canadian health care, and to advocate for the professions’ model of cooperative, collaborative, patient centered quality health care.
Then there are those like Angele Viger. She volunteered to care for COVID-19 patients after the cardiac clinic she worked in temporarily closed during quarantine.
“I really wanted to use my medical knowledge and my experience to help during COVID in any way that I could,” she said. “It’s certainly been, by far, the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire career. It’s very emotional and it takes a pretty big toll on your mental health as well.”
Knowing she wouldn’t be the only one at heightened risk, she talked to her partner before reaching out to the dean of the McMaster physician assistant program about working on the front line.
“He was OK with it, he didn’t want to deter my efforts to help,” said Viger of her partner’s response. “He’s been a bit nervous and very cognizant of it. We’ve been quite diligent about any exposures ourselves.”
She is one of about a dozen physician assistants hired by Hamilton Health Sciences from April to August to specifically help with the pandemic.
“Everything was quite daunting right at the beginning, when I was very cognizant of what I was doing and the risks I was taking,” she said. “That was nerve-racking.”
But she never regretted it.
“These patients need someone to care for them,” she said. “They need empathy and they need a good team around them.” …READ MORE in The Hamilton Spectator.
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Check out the Frequently Asked Questions to learn more! And visit our Member Benefits section to get started.
To support PAs during these challenging times, the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) would like to inform all CCPAs and other Mainport ePortfolio participants that in alignment with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), all maintenance of certification requirements for 2020 are waived:
- One year will be added to everyone’s cycle.
- While no credits are required to be submitted this year, any credits submitted will still be counted towards your current (now six-year) cycle. We are also waiving the traditional 40-credit minimum requirement for 2020.
Like the RCPSC and CFPC, we too are affording this respite from reporting to allow our program participants to focus on their work and to take care of themselves.
Impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 PA Certification Exam Date
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) has made the decision to postpone the fall 2020 exam to January 2021 (subject to change).
PACCC recognizes that students are anxious to receive firm details, and we will share this information broadly as soon as specifics are finalized. Thank you for your continued patience as we work through these complex and evolving circumstances.
New Exam Dates
We recognize the need for planning and PACCC will work to confirm and communicate a new date as soon as possible, while ensuring that all students have a fair opportunity to register.
All students will be contacted directly by their education programs when online exam registration opens. CAPA/PACCC will also email anyone who is a Student Member in good standing or any potential rewrites about exam registration.
PACCC is considering and evaluating all delivery options for the exam; (in-person and online) to address public health concerns and comply with physical distancing guidelines that may be in effect at the time of the exam.