November 2022
From the Primary Care Alliance

Physicians now have opportunities to provide their input into the future of primary health care in Alberta. One way is through the MAPS (Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System) process. The MAPS initiative was created to gather information and ideas from several advisory panels on immediate and long-term improvements to the system. MAPS has established an Indigenous Panel, International Expert Panel and a Strategic Advisory Panel. I am co-chairing the Strategic Advisory Panel with Dr. Janet Reynolds, Medical Director for the Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network.
Another example for input is the
PCN Funding Working Group.
I would encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with representatives on those groups as we find ways to make the necessary changes to primary care to support and sustain the work of family physicians in caring for patients. 

In addition, the temporary removal of the daily services cap
announced jointly by the AMA and the minister of health offers some welcome relief from the pressures facing the system. Keep an eye on AMA President’s Letters as they are providing additional information for members about implementation of the new agreement. 

Please note the next issue of the Primary Care Alliance Primary Care News will be publishing a couple of weeks early in recognition of the holiday season.
Watch for it to hit your inbox on December 16. 

Dr. Brad Bahler
Primary Care Alliance

ACFP Family Physician of the Year - Dr. Marjan Abbasi

The Alberta College of Family Physicians is pleased to announce Edmonton physician, Dr. Marjan Abbasi, as Alberta’s Family Physician of the Year for 2022 for her exceptional work with seniors.

“To put it simply, Dr. Marjan Abbasi is an outstanding leader. Marjan is a strong advocate for her patients and their families.” 

More on Dr. Abbasi and other recipients at the link below

Breaking down the silos of care in Alberta 

“I see CII/CPAR as the beginnings of helping break down the silo of care so that we can all work together to provide patients with the care they need”, says Dr. Michelle Warren, family physician and AMA’s past president.

CII/CPAR shares vital patient information across the system including which physician is the primary care provider when there is an established relationship between the patients and provider. 

Watch the video at the link below.

New FAST referral forms: Simplifying referral processes
Following the recent FAST (Facilitated Access to Specialized Treatment) launches, new provincially standardized referral forms for Urology and Orthopedics are coming to your community EMRs. The forms will be available over the next few weeks.

The standardized forms aim to simplify processes for referring providers.
Thursday nights are ACFP CPD nights!

This monthly series allows you to partake in quality continuing professional development opportunities that focus on highly sought-after topics.

Join in for the next session on December 8 at 7 p.m. - Billing Codes: Optimize billing effectiveness with Norma Shipley.  

Register for sessions, and also gain access to all past recordings.
Influenza positivity rate increasing
Tragically, a second child has died from influenza in Alberta so far this season. The latest case, in a previously well child aged 5-9 years, was caused by H3N2, the dominant circulating strain. As the influenza positivity rate continues to trend upwards, there are resources to help primary care providers with prevention and early treatment during this demanding time. The following resources will help with immunization conversations and clinical decisions for influenza, COVID-19 and viral respiratory illness: Physicians may want to consider reviewing their patient panels for those most at risk for severe outcomes and reach out when possible. Physicians can also assure patients that the influenza vaccine is effective against H3N2, the dominant strain according to FluWatch surveillance. Questions:
Monkeypox update
Monkeypox was first reported in Alberta in June 2022. Since then, 43 cases have been identified with acquisition locally, as well as during travel. Enhanced public health measures such as contact tracing and immunization have been effective in reducing transmission. The number of new cases in the province slowed down – the last case had been reported on October 5, 2022. However, six weeks later November 18,  a new monkeypox case was reported in an immunized person with no travel history; this individual had multiple anonymous sexual encounters during the incubation period. This serves as a timely reminder for clinicians to remain vigilant in their assessment and testing of individuals that may be at risk for monkeypox infections. More information about monkeypox.
Imvamune® vaccine is available for pre- and post-exposure for Albertans aged 18 years of age and older who self-identify as meeting eligibility criteria for targeted prevention prior to exposure as well as for potential close contacts of identified cases.
For details on eligibility, refer to AHS’
Smallpox and Monkeypox Vaccine Biological Page. Clinicians can also direct their patients to this page for more details on eligibility.
A reminder: one:carepath pilot project opportunity
Are you interested in testing a shared care plan template? If you answered yes, are you able to test the template with at least three complex patients over a four-to-six-month period using one of four EMRs (MedAccess, PS Suite, Healthquest or Accuro)?
If so, you may be interested in participating in a one:carepath pilot.
One:carepath is a patient-first, disease-inclusive approach to integrating supportive care in the Patient’s Medical Home, through careful attention to symptom management, determining patient’s values and preferences for care, and timely transitions to a more conservative approach to care. The focus is on optimizing the quality of life for patients with advanced/decompensated/non-curative lung, heart, liver and kidney disease or solid organ cancers. 
For more information refer to the
one:carepath Pilot Overview or to get involved contact either Lynn Toon or Kirby Scott.
Changes to lab services for PHASE 1, starting December 5, 2022
Alberta is transforming how laboratory services are delivered across the province, standardizing and improving patient care for all Albertans. Under this new provincial laboratory services model DynaLIFE’s role will expand to a province-wide scope focusing on community lab services, while Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) will support and focus on acute care lab services.
For more detailed information on what is changing and how these changes impact ordering providers across the province check out the
Bulletin For Alberta Ordering Providers or find out more on DynaLIFE’s Physician’s Hub
ANA and ENA testing changes
Changes are being made to antinuclear antibody (ANA) and extractable nuclear antigen (ENA) testing, beginning December 5, 2022. ANA testing in the province will be performed by the APL Calgary Diagnostic and Scientific Centre (DSC) Immunochemistry Laboratory.
In accordance with
Rheumatology Choosing Wisely Canada guidelines, ANA testing should only be ordered as a screening test for patients who have specific signs or symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or another connective tissue disease. See the Test Directory APL.

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