Changes to Regulatory Bylaws
May 2021

The College’s Regulatory Bylaws establish expectations for physicians and for the College.  They establish practice standards, establish a Code of Ethics  and Code of Conduct , define certain forms of conduct as unprofessional and establish requirements for licensure.

There were three changes to College regulatory bylaws since the last edition of the Newsletter.

Regulatory Bylaw 2.13 – Podiatric surgeons

The College has the responsibility to license podiatric surgeons – despite the fact that no podiatric surgeon has ever applied for licensure in Saskatchewan (unlike the situation in B.C. and Alberta where there are licensed podiatric surgeons). The bylaws establishing the registration criteria for podiatric surgeons were updated to mirror the B.C. requirements and to be consistent with the current training programs.

Regulatory Bylaw 3.3 – Resignation of physicians

The College identified a concern that a physician who resigns from the membership which they hold with the College is no longer subject to the College’s regulatory authority. Thus, the College is unable to deal effectively with a physician who resigns their membership but does not provide continuity of care for patients, does not deal with patient records, etc. The Council adopted a bylaw which mirrors the requirements for lawyers in Saskatchewan. A resignation is not effective until it is accepted by the Registrar. This applies only to licensure with the College and has no effect on a physician’s ability to relocate their practice inside or outside Saskatchewan.

Regulatory Bylaw 18.1 – List of Prescription Review Program medications

The Council updated the list of medications that are subject to the Prescription Review Program. The bylaw states that the bylaw applies to the listed medications as well as “their salts and/or enantiomers, in all dosage forms, as a single active ingredient or as a combination product.”

 Policy, Standard and Guideline Updates
May 2021

Council regularly reviews the policies, guidelines and standards which are then made available on the College’s website. 

Since the l
ast Newsletter, Council has adopted one new guideline and one new policy (not yet in force), and has amended one policy.

*Click on each title below to view the complete version of the policy, standard or guideline.

NEW! GUIDELINE - Physician Use of Social Media

Council adopted a new guideline addressing physicians’ professional, ethical and legal obligations in the appropriate use of social media.  It is not intended to restrict physicians’ rights to freedom of speech, or to create any new expectations.  However, it does remind physicians that their existing obligations of professional and ethical conduct are the same whether interacting in person or online through social media.  The document provides specific guidelines for physicians with respect to privacy, confidentiality of patient information, professional boundaries, professionalism, and legal obligations.

POLICY - Medical Practice Coverage

Council conducted a sunset review of this policy and adopted an amended version of this policy that establishes expectations of all physicians involved in direct patient care regarding physician availability, after-hours coverage, and coverage during temporary absences from practice with a view to enhancing continuity of care and access to coordinated care.  The amendments are fairly extensive, including the addition of a ‘scope’ and ‘definitions’ sections.  The policy is described as applying to all physicians (primary care and specialists/consultants) providing care as part of a sustained physician-patient relationship regardless of their service model.  For example, the expectations of the policy apply whether physicians work at urgent care/walk-in/episodic care clinics/virtual care services, and whether care is provided in-person or virtually.  The policy was also amended to include specific reference to office phone requirements, after-hours management of test results, availability to respond to after-hours inquiries from other health-care providers, coordinating care for temporary absences from practice, the use of voicemail and email, and practice coverage during office hours when unable to accommodate access.

Additional information is included in the article here .

NEW! POLICY – Blood-borne Viruses:  Screening, Reporting and Monitoring of Physicians/Medical Students

While this policy was adopted by Council at its March meeting, it will not come into force until the amended bylaw 24.1 (“Reporting of blood-borne viruses”) is published in the Saskatchewan Gazette.  This is anticipated to occur sometime in June 2021.  When the policy comes into force, the current policy "Hepatitis B/C/HIV-Infected Physicians/Medical Students and Physician/Medical Students with AIDS " will be rescinded.

Consistent with the existing policy and bylaw, physicians and medical students who perform or may perform or assist in performing exposure prone procedures (EPPs) as defined in the policy are responsible to know their status, and to report their seropositive status.  The primary changes that will come with the new policy and amended bylaw are threefold:

  1. Monitoring- This will be performed on an arm’s length basis by the Physician Health Program (PHP), rather than through the Registrar’s office;
  2. Testing schedule - Instead of the general responsibility that physicians/medical students who perform or assist in performing EPPs know their status, a specific testing schedule has been included: annually for HBV (unless confirmed to be immune), q3 yearly for HCV and HIV;
  3. Reporting - Reporting of seropositive status is only required for physicians/medical students who perform or may perform / assist or may assist in performing EPPs.

All physicians have recently received two letters from the Registrar addressing this pending policy and amended bylaw.  Additional information is found in the article here .