Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Lesson in Effective Physician Recruitment and Retention Strategies


By Phil Jost, MBA, CanAm Blog Post, August 28, 2014


After many years of trial and error as a senior health manager and CEO, I have come to the conclusion that there are only two ‘reasonable’ physician retention plan options:

Option A: Physician Retention starts from the moment of the screening of potential candidates to ensure that they conform to your organization’s hiring criteria. It is critical to ensure that the appropriate questions are presented to the candidate to test their long term career commitment. I highly recommend that you seriously consider offering a site visit to a thoroughly screened, interviewed, and short-listed candidate. This key financial investment will reap huge returns when you finally engage the services of that ideal physician candidate that fits your organization’s culture, and brings exciting new innovative ideas to further empower your healthcare team.

The placement of a new physician, due to the prior professional commitments of the candidate to his current employer and/or immigration processing, may take several weeks, or even months. Therefore, it is critical that you maintain open and ongoing communication with the physician and their family to ensure that important ongoing relationship building, and the anticipation of a warm welcome is maintained.

Finally, once the physician and their family arrive, you must implement an orientation plan for the physician, and their family….and into the future you must ensure that relationship building becomes an ongoing process of inclusion for the physician and family – only then can you be sure of the highest retention outcomes.

Option B:    Develop a highly restrictive employment contract that includes high financial penalties should a physician candidate decide to conclude their employment contract prematurely. Although, it is my experience that this approach will result in the attainment of the desired contracted retention period, there is a serious down-side to this plan. Specifically, if this option is not supported by Plan A, it will result in disillusioned candidates that will become negative influences within your organization until the stipulated contract limitations expire.

Consequently, my advice to avoid retention failure is to engage the services of an established professional physician recruitment firm to provide astute consulting services and ongoing support to develop and implement a Physician Retention Plan tailored to your needs to ensure optimal physician placement and retention outcomes.

Statement from the CFPC, CMA and the RCPSC on Government Drug Campaign


AUGUST 16, 2014 – The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada will not be participating in Health Canada’s upcoming anti-drug educational campaign targeted at young Canadians.

As the largest national organizations representing Canada’s doctors, the CFPC, CMA and Royal College were invited to co-brand and provide expert advice on an upcoming public education campaign initiated and funded by Health Canada. The

educational campaign has now become a political football on Canada’s marijuana policy and for this reason the CFPC, CMA and Royal College will not be  participating.

We did not, and do not, support or endorse any political messaging or political advertising on this issue.

All three organizations support the importance of educating the public on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The CFPC, CMA and Royal College will continue working to enhance public education and increase awareness of the health risks of drug and alcohol consumption by Canada’s young people.

CMA partners with CARP on Seniors Care

by  Pat Rich


The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has joined with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) to urge provincial and territorial premiers to take the lead in establishing a seniors care strategy.

The CMA and CARP recently wrote to the Council of the Federation to recommend that the future mandate of the Council’s seniors care working group include development of such a strategy, to address the needs and expectations of an aging population.

“Canadians of all ages should have equitable and timely access to high quality health care regardless of their income or where they live in the country,” said CMA President-elect Dr. Chris Simpson and Susan Eng, CARP vice-president for advocacy, in the joint letter sent to the premiers of Alberta, Yukon and Ontario.

“Health care, financial security, individual rights to equitable treatment and care, as well as freedom from abuse, are all part of the complex equation in ensuring that our quality of life is enhanced, not diminished, as we all age. “

The CMA and CARP are working to make seniors care a major issue in upcoming elections — especially next year’s federal election.

The letter closed by offering to meet the premiers in conjunction with the annual summer meeting of the Council, being held Aug. 26-30 in Charlottetown.

The initiative is the latest involving the CMA in a series to raise awareness about the importance of seniors care. In April, the CMA’s annual Doctors in the House lobby day on Parliament Hill also focused on the health concerns surrounding a rapidly aging population.

At the CMA’s annual general council meeting beginning this weekend, a special education session will focus on readiness for next year’s federal election and how to ensure seniors care is on the agenda.

“We have never been better prepared,” Simpson said in reference to CMA advocacy efforts at the federal level.

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Doctor-assisted death appropriate only after all other choices exhausted, CMA president says

By Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia NewsAugust 27, 2014

Doctor-hastened death would only be appropriate after all other reasonable choices have been exhausted, says the head of the country’s largest doctors’ group.

Dr. Chris Simpson, newly installed president of the Canadian Medical Association, made the comments in advance of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada hearing expected to add fuel to the emotional end-of-life debate gaining urgency across Canada.

Simpson said there are enough doctors in Canada willing to perform doctor-hastened death, if the federal ban outlawing euthanasia were lifted.

But doctors first need safeguards to protect the vulnerable and a strategy to urgently shore up palliative care “so that this is not seen as a first, or second or even third choice, but a choice that’s appropriate for people after all other reasonable options are exhausted,” he said.

In recent days two high profile cases starkly illustrate how profoundly personal that choice is, he said.

The death of Gillian Bennett last week sparked waves of emotion after the 85-year-old great-grandmother, who was in the early stages of dementia, shared a deeply poignant and powerful suicide note on her blog,

The Vancouver Sun reported how Bennett dragged a foam mattress from her home on Bowen Island, B.C. to a favourite spot facing a craggy rock cliff, and then killed herself with a dose of barbiturates mixed with water, her husband at her side.

“Ever so gradually at first, much faster now, I am turning into a vegetable,” Bennett wrote before she died.

On Monday, Maureen Taylor, the widow of Dr. Donald Low, urged the Supreme Court “to acknowledge that this is a right of all Canadians who want a choice in how they die.”

In an impassioned videotaped plea for doctor-assisted death shot days before his death last year, Low, a microbiologist who became a public face of the SARS crisis in 1993, accused Canada of not having the maturity to take on one of the most emotionally charged issues in medicine.

Euthanasia is considered murder under Canada’s Criminal Code, an offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Low worried he would end up paralyzed and have to be carried from bed to the bathroom, that he would have trouble swallowing and eating. “What worries me is how I’m going to die,” he said in the video posted to YouTube.

The images of Bennett and Low take the euthanasia debate out of the abstract, Simpson said. “It really helps inform a more respectful discussion,” he said, adding the CMA heard similar anecdotes across the country during a series of town hall meetings with Canadians on end-of-life care.

“It’s just such a deeply personal moving story,” he said. “The more of those kinds of stories that we hear, the easier it becomes to establish a respect for another point of view.”

Simpson, chief of cardiology at Queen’s University in Kingston, said palliative care must be made a priority. But there are some forms of suffering even the best end-of-life care can’t alleviate, he said, including some cancer deaths and diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease that can lead to uncontrollable pain, breathlessness and the “psychologically terrifying” feeling of being “locked in”, where intellectually the person is aware of everything but unable to move or communicate.

“Those are some examples of things where, we would all agree if we were in that situation we would be looking for potentially other solutions,” he said.

Some of the most eloquent advocates for euthanasia and assisted suicide have been doctors themselves,” he added. “When we become patients ourselves, it’s a great leveller. We all know what we would want for ourselves.”

At its annual policy-setting convention last week, the CMA fundamentally softened its long held stance against euthanasia and assisted death, voting that doctors should be free to choose whether to help patients kill themselves, should the law change.

Some doctors have argued physicians should be taken out of the equation entirely and that the CMA should lobby for some other group of “euthanologists.”

But Simpson said doctors are the group patients trust most. “I don’t think we want to be reneging on our responsibilities to serve our patients, either.”

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Oct. 15 in a landmark case involving two B.C. women, Kay Carter and Gloria Taylor.

In 2011, Carter’s children, along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association launched a lawsuit on their mother’s behalf. Kay Carter suffered from spinal stenosis, a degenerative condition that confined her to a wheelchair and left her in chronic pain. She died by lethal injection in Switzerland in 2010.

Gloria Taylor, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease, won a court-sanctioned exemption from federal laws banning assisted suicide when a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the law infringes on the rights of disabled people.

A provincial court of appeal overturned the decision. In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the case. Taylor died of a severe infection in October 2012.

Simpson, who will be appearing before the Supreme Court, said that the CMA will be neither “pro nor con” and that as long as euthanasia and doctor-assisted death remain illegal “we’ll be advising our members not to participate in it.”  Should the legal landscape change, “Our new policy will be to allow physicians to follow their conscience” within the confines of the law.

Any change in law would have to come with safeguards against abuse and must protect the rights of patients and doctors, he said.

Most doctors aren’t opposed to the notion of patients being able to choose how and when they die, “but they’re uncomfortable with the role they’re being asked to play, Simpson said.

“That discomfort comes a lot from this uncertainty: Am I going to be compelled to do it if I don’t want to do it? Am I going to be asked to make decisions that I’m really uncomfortable with?”

“I have a lot of great respect for people who say that, I simply want the choice. I want to be in control. I don’t want to lose that control and I don’t want to suffer in pain,” Simpson said.

Asked whether he would want the option of doctor-hastened death at the end of his own life, he was more circumspect.

“I don’t know what I would do in that situation, is the absolutely honest answer,” he said.

“But I think I would probably fall into line with the way most Canadians think, which is, if the choice is there, that helps me maintain control over my own destiny.”

©             Copyright  (c)             Postmedia Network Inc.

Foreign doctors boost Ontario’s physician corps

Written by JERED STUFFCO on August 26, 2014 for The Medical Post

Doctors trained abroad are bolstering Ontario’s ranks of physicians, the provincial college reports in it’s annual review.

“1,793 certificates were for IMGs—a record” 

In 2013, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario registered 4,441 physicians.

Of those, 1,793 were IMGs while 1,646 were from Ontario.

And the number of IMGs is a new record for the CPSO.

Meanwhile, among those: 707 IMGs were licensed to start their own practice and nearly 1,100 got post-grad papers which will allow them to get more on-the-job experience.

Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins welcomed the numbers.

“I am pleased to see  that the CPSO had another record-breaking year in 2013 in increasing the  total number of licences given to physicians in Ontario. I know how  vital it is for Ontario families to have access to primary care,” he said in a statement, published by the Toronto Star.

Check out the full report here.

Online edited response to the above article from John Philpott, President and CEO, CanAm Physician Recruiting Inc., on August 28, 2014.

Two thumbs up to CPSO for their progress and educated approach in licencing IMGs. Particularly in providing a direct pathway granting full licence to American trained physicians without the need to write basic MCC exams. CPSBC & CPSNB have already followed BC’s lead.

Now it’s time for all other provincial colleges, particularly CPSNS and CPSPEI, to do the same. The CPSNS and CPSPEI are currently the most rigid provincial colleges in Canada when it comes to licencing regulations for IMGs. Consequently, NS and PEI are steadily losing quality doctors to Ontario and BC, both IMGs and Canadians. It brings to question whether these colleges are they failing to deliver their mandate to “protect the public by ensuring the delivery of safe, quality and appropriate health care to NS and PEI citizens”?



Is the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Irrelevant?

Is the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) irrelevant?

        Written by Dr. Sarah Giles on August 27, 2014 for


Point of Care: Where Life Meets Medicine by Dr. Sarah Giles

Last week I went to the CMA annual meeting in Ottawa. As admission was “free” to members observing the event, I thought I’d take a peek and see what was going on.

I have been told that the CMA has actually made dramatic changes in the last few years, and that Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti has been working very hard behind the scenes to make the organization more relevant. So, to the past three presidents of the CMA especially, I understand congratulations are in order.

There’s a big HOWEVER coming, I’m afraid.

I left the CMA meeting feeling frustrated by an agenda that seems stuck in the 1980s.

When you look at who attends the CMA meetings and who holds voting positions, the demographic is overwhelmingly the older white male. In a time when men and women are admitted to medical school at a 4:6 ratio, only 30% of the attendees at the meeting were female. Part of that is a reflection of the historic gender imbalance in the profession and another part may be that women are not as interested in the organization as men.

I do not have the breakdown of attendees by age, but by my visual assessment indicated that the older crowd definitely held the balance of power. Doctors who are retired can hold office for the CMA and they may well be the ones who have the most time to offer the CMA, but do they represent my values? I once saw an election sign that read: “Your parents and their friends are voting—are you?”  I’ve used that slogan to great effect with many young people.

So, if the older (generally Caucasian) males are more than doing their part at the CMA, who is missing from the table? The answer is obvious: young doctors, especially women. This may be where the disconnect came when I looked at the agenda.

Examples of resolutions passed at the 2014 CMA meeting that would have been ground-breaking in the 1980s but seem rather sedate in 2014:

• The CMA calls for accessible, comprehensive and high-quality care for transgender patients.

• The Canadian Medical Association supports the need to educate physicians about the prevalence of child abuse.

I appreciate that these items might have been missed in the past and that it is important to make sure they are eventually addressed but come on! Let’s show some collective guts and put up some ballsy resolutions. Off the top of my head:

• The Canadian Medical Association asks the Conservative federal government to refrain from appealing the Supreme Court decision condemning the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program.

• The Canadian Medical Association calls for meaningful programming to close the discrepancy in life expectation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

Maybe I need a lesson in why Canada’s doctors can’t be fierce champions for the health of our patients and I need to adjust my expectations of the role of the CMA.

Or perhaps, Canadian doctors are on the verge of becoming a relevant group that wields its power for great social change but needs a few more voices in order to be heard.

Fellow CMA members, which one is it?

Dr. Sarah Giles is a locum family physician who is currently between assignments with Médecins Sans Frontières.

Online edited comment to the above article by John Philpott, President and CEO, CanAm Physician Recruiting Inc. – Posted August 28, 2014

Finally, its nice to see an enlightened Canadian MD speak out about the influence of the old boys’ clubs in the Canadian Health System. We rarely see that occur! Sarah if you think CMA is off side, take a look at MCC, FMRAC and the provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons.

Why do Canadian physicians tolerate and allow a College Registrar to remain for decades in the most powerful position that controls the licencing of physicians, and their fate should a complaint arise? The average age of Registrars in Canada is probably close to 70. These are old school physicians, many who no longer even qualify to practice medicine because they have been out of practice for so long. But yet they apparently have full comprehension of the current medical practice environment. Brings to question why do we have 10 provincial medical licencing colleges in Canada, with a population less than the state of California, where there is only 1 licencing board?

Sarah it is and always will be about “power”, – and the younger generation of Canadian physicians continue to ignore it at their peril!

10 reasons why USA #physicians are now choosing to move to Canada

As promised yesterday….

Top 10 Reasons why US Physicians Are choosing to move their family’s and #medical practices to Canada…

1. On average, physicians working in Canada earn at least $100K per annum more….

2. Dissatisfaction with the current direction of American healthcare reform.

3. Canada has one of the lowest tax rates of the G8 countries, including the USA.

4. Independent physicians can incorporate, create Family Trusts, split incomes and access corporate income tax rates as low as 11%.

5. No payment collection worries – you are paid 100% of patient billings 100% of the time.

6. Mal-practice premiums as little as $58.00 per month, and you can take litigation fears out of your treatment plan.

7. Universal healthcare for you and your family.

8. Never worry again about rejecting a patient due to the lack of insurance.

9. You will be living in the safest developed, multi-cultural country in the world, and…

10. One of the world’s strongest post-recession economies.

Go to to learn more….



New Research Indicates Dogs Can Detect Breast Cancer

New research suggests that dogs could soon be used to detect breast cancer in  an extremely effective and reliable manner.

Animals working for Medical Detection Dogs  in Buckinghamshire, UK, have already had a 93 percent rate of accuracy when it  comes to sniffing 6,000 urine samples to detect prostate cancer.

The results of this prostate cancer trial were striking in that the dog’s  nose had a higher rate of success when it came to detecting cancer than that of  blood samples.

Encouraged by their findings, the team are now embarking on a landmark trial  to establish if the dogs are able to detect breast cancer from samples of breath  in the same way that earlier studies suggest they can detect bowel and lung  cancer.

Women at high risk of breast cancer can be screened for the disease by simply  breathing into a tube. The sample is then sniffed by one of the specially  trained dogs to detect if cancer is present.

If the dogs can detect breast cancer with the same degree of accuracy that  they can prostate cancer, researchers believe it would “revolutionize how  doctors view the diagnosis of all cancers.”

Dr. Claire Guest, behavioral psychologist and founder of the Medical  Detection Dogs charity, was alerted to the fact that she had breast cancer by  her dog Daisy when they were working on the prostate cancer trial.

Daisy, a fox red labrador, would not stop jumping up at Dr. Guest’s chest.  Following medical tests, Dr. Guest was found to have a deep seated early tumor.

The new trial, which has already begun, involves six dogs being trained to  sniff breath samples for breast cancer. The four most effective dogs will be  tested in the final trial involving samples from 1,500 women.

The dogs, whose highly-developed sense of smell  is thought to sniff out the volatile substances released by cancerous cells, are  trained to stare intently at positive cancer samples.

Dr. Guest told The Telegraph:

“We use high drive, working breeds of dogs, like labradors and spaniels. They  work for treats and biscuits but they genuinely love to work. They all live in  people’s homes, they come in to work in a lab and then go home at the end of the  day.

“It is logical that the dogs can detect prostate, bladder and renal cancer in  urine samples but detecting breast cancer in breath is something different.

“I genuinely do not know what we are going to find. It is a question that  needs answering. If it is found that dogs can detect it, it will change what we  know about the diagnosis of all cancers. After all the blood flows around the  tumor and then around the lungs.

“If proven it would have a significant impact on what we consider possible in  the diagnosis of cancer. High risk young women, who are too young for routine,  regular mammograms could breathe into a tube every six months and find out  quickly and painlessly if they have cancer.”

Dr. Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, added:

“It’s nice to see that our four-legged friends are being recruited to help in  the fight against cancer, as we know that some dogs can sniff out the molecules  given off by tumors.

“But although it’s not practical to use dogs to detect cancer in the general  population, the results of this study – once it’s completed – could inform  laboratory tests to develop ‘electronic noses’ that might diagnose cancer  earlier.”


Keeping Doctors in Rural Communities

The following article is a great read on the challenges rural communities are having keeping their doctors.

CanAm Physician Recruiting has been stating these facts for almost 20yrs. The only real solution is to hire a professional firm, such as CanAm, who has the ability to screen physicians, both Canadians and IMGS, and match them with the best possible opportunities which meet their professional and social needs.

Local hospitals or even provincial based recruiters cannot provide the National and Global options that CanAm can, and do provide. Physicians are no different than anyone else, they wonder if there are better options elsewhere and they seek the perfect place to live. The truth is that there is no perfect place to live and work but at CanAm we layout all the options and as a result we have the highest retention rates in the country.

Call your CanAm professional today and retain our services to provide you and your community with the continuum of health care you deserve.