President’s Update October 2020
On October 30, 2020 a new change to legislation occurred that directly impacts NPs in Alberta. This is in response to the Labour Board’s determination in November 2019 that exclusion from the Labour Code was against NPs’ Charter of Rights. We are in the process of meeting with our lawyers to see what next steps need to be taken and how best to inform members about its impact. This change will likely result in a need for a vote by our membership. It will also impact the second part of the original determination hearing.
We will update all of our members as soon as we have details. If you have colleagues who are NOT members of the NPAA, please encourage them to consider membership as upcoming decisions will have an impact on all NPs in Alberta. We are incredibly grateful to you for your continued support of the NPAA during these exciting and momentous times in our profession.
Alberta Health Services
- Met with senior AHS leadership on Sept 15/2020
- We relayed concerns re: Clinical Associates still receiving raises even though the rest of the out of scope staff have frozen salaries.
- The explanation received: It is part of the CA salary structure, based on performance, and their positions can be eliminated if they are not performing.
- Not different really from out of scope employees but AHS leadership is not seeing it that way. We will continue to work on removing barriers.
Canadian Nurses Association (CNA)
- Met with CNA representatives on September 21/2020
- They are involved in a national effort to address insurance barriers for NPs.
- Challenge is that the change process must be done in cycle with when the insurance company changes its regulations. This is regulated by specific company bylaws/constitution and is also impacted by the federal Health Insurance Act.
- It can be difficult to know to whom within the insurance company concerns should be directed.
- Will be working with CNA going forward to try and address some of these issues in Alberta.
Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP)
- Met September 23/202 with Amy Deagle
- RhPAP is working on a skills enrichment program for rural NPs.
- Information regarding this was sent out with the September update.
- Amy wants to meet again to discuss legislative barriers and how they might help facilitate changes from their end if necessary.
Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB)
- Met with a representative on October 7/2020
- NPAA has received recent concerns from members about inequities in the billing fees.
- NPs cannot bill the same day of the presenting injury as they do not have access to the online billing portal.
- NPs can only use paper forms, and no codes for procedures currently exist for NPs.
- WCB based the schedule of fees on the NP Service Events Schedule from Alberta Health, which was never intended to be used for billing. It was originally intended to help track patient panel size only, and has nothing to do with workload, procedures or complexity tracking.
- WCB is looking into changes to the program if possible and correcting these billing discrepancies. NPAA advised WCB that fees should be the same for NPs or MDs if they are completing the same information or performing the same procedure.
- Meetings are ongoing. Next meeting is Nov 10/2020.
- Met with AH Executive Director on October 14/2020 for our standard quarterly meeting.
- They have been involved with the Labour Ministry to help craft a solution for the Alberta Labour Relations Board hearing.
- AH is continue to work on an alternate funding model for NPs.
- Candy Gregory gave an update on the PCN NP Support Program – not all positions approved through this program have been filled. Some NPs have been refusing job offers, saying the salary is too low.
- There are concerns about the viability of the program and the vacant positions given the provincial economic climate should these positions remain unfilled.
- It is difficult to say to the government that NPs do not have work, when they are refusing what is available. NPAA also realizes that NPs don’t want to settle or take positions that do not have full scope of practice or are “underpaid”. AH is aware of both sides and continues to work with NPAA to find solutions.
Alberta Counsel – our Lobbying Firm
- The NPAA board made the decision to change lawyer firms and moved to lawyers at Alberta Counsel. This has allowed for seamless communication between our lobbyist and lawyers which is saving NPAA time and money.
- Met with our lobby team on October 15, 2020.
- AC did a brief review of the previous lawyer’s legal documents with the NPAA executive after the AC lawyers reviewed the file. AC lobbyists and lawyers will need to wait to hear what the Labour Ministry proposes before knowing how to advise us on next steps. It appears that there will be legislation that is brought forth in the fall sitting that will impact NPAA significantly.
- Any major decisions to be made will be put forth to the membership for a vote. This may happen soon, so please keep an eye on your email for meeting information!
- We met with the President of CARNA on October 26, 2020.
- We discussed the recent social media standards survey, and were reassured that this is the stakeholder review phase. All feedback will be considered prior to moving forward with either formal standards or just guidelines. This is yet to be determined.
- Prescribing standards involving acceptance of samples and cannabis prescribing are still at Alberta Health pending approval.
- Launch of a new Steering Committee to begin work on the formation of a new association. First steps will be selecting a board to begin this work. Consider putting your name forward when the call goes out through CARNA. We will need voices from all nursing disciplines and those who are passionate to help form a new association that could include the NPAA.
- Two of our NPAA members are working with our webmaster Duncan to complete the updates to the website. If you notice anything that needs to be changed or is making the website difficult to navigate, please reach out to NPAA and provide your feedback.
- Recent influx of NP referrals which have been refused by physicians.
- We reached out to the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) who confirm that this is not acceptable, and is against their referral/consultation standards.
- The NPAA is working alongside the CPSA to resolve these issues.
- We encourage members to reach out to NPAA with any further refusals.
- While it appears that the physicians are trying to get back at the government by doing this, NPAA has preferred not to become adversarial about it but to go through proper channels to ensure this is dealt with professionally and by the physician’s regulatory body. Ultimately it is the Albertans we serve who will suffer, which is not acceptable.
Thank you to all of our members for your ongoing support. If you have any questions about the content of the October update, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org