PPE in the community: Just the facts

June 20, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

Dear Members:

My May 27 President's Letter addressed issues arising from government’s announcement that community physicians would no longer be provided with personal protective equipment. Since then this has been discussed extensively at the Pandemic Community Supports Working Group.

Matters continue to develop, while communication to physicians about PPE has been coming from several directions. I thought it would be helpful to summarize what we know.

  • Alberta Health Services moved to providing PPE for community-based physicians on a cost-recovery basis as of May 26. We appreciate their procurement assistance that should help to ensure the best pricing, given a rapidly fluctuating market and their ability to buy in bulk. Physicians may also source their own PPE if they wish.
  • Government has said that community physicians will be eligible for a new small business grant to assist with expenses, which may include PPE costs. We have not seen any details on amounts or any limitations or restrictions that may accompany the grant.
  • Given financial pressures, some physicians may elect to cover their costs by billing a PPE surcharge to the patient directly, particularly in circumstances where PPE requirements are significant (i.e., COVID-19-positive or suspected COVID-19-positive patients).The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta has directed physicians to consider the Standard of Practice Sale of Products by Physicians. The surcharge should reflect reasonable cost recovery for the PPE being used by the physician, all staff and patients. Additionally, you must advise the patient of costs in advance and consider their ability to pay.

These are the facts today of which all physicians should be aware. We will continue to seek clarity and provide you with new information and implications moving forward. I commit to you that our advocacy for your needs will continue through this process.

In your service,

Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

No comments

Commenting on this page is closed.

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.