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Friday Five (January 7, 2022)

This week's edition of the Friday Five includes information on prescribing for uncomplicated cystitis, how your pharmacy should plan for staff shortages, and recent amendments to the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).

Reminder: Pharmacists Prescribing for Uncomplicated, Recurrent Cystitis Must Follow and Prescribe According to the medSask Guidelines

On December 1, 2021, pharmacists were informed that Manitoba Health and Seniors Care made an amendment to include Section 118(5) of the Pharmaceutical Regulation allowing pharmacists who have completed a Council-approved training and application process to prescribe to treat uncomplicated, recurrent cystitis.

As part of the training program, Uncomplicated Cystitis Independent Study Program for Manitoba Pharmacists, one of the required readings is the medSask Guidelines on Cystitis: Acute, Uncomplicated. Please note that authorized pharmacists in Manitoba must follow and prescribe according to the medSask Guidelines, while also adhering to Manitoba legislation and standards. If you are a member of Pharmacists Manitoba, you have free access to the medSask Guidelines.

For more information on the requirements for pharmacists to prescribe for uncomplicated cystitis and a link to the training program, please visit: https://cphm.ca/practice-education/prescribing-uncomplicated-cystitis/.

Practice Directions Updates and Opportunity for Stakeholder Feedback

The Prescribing and Dispensing Practice Direction has been updated and was approved by Council at the December 10, 2021, meeting. The amended practice direction is now in effect and has been posted on the College website here.

Additionally, Council approved the release of the following three amended practice directions for stakeholder feedback:

Please review the draft amendments and provide your feedback by email to feedback@cphm.ca by February 22, 2022. For information on the consultation process and providing feedback, please review the Policy Statement on Practice Directions.

Emergency Preparedness: Plan for Staffing Shortages Before They Happen

Manitoba is experiencing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases related to the omicron variant. As this trend continues, pharmacies are likely to experience staffing shortages due to positive COVID-19 cases among staff, isolation requirements, etc. Pharmacy managers and owners are reminded of the importance of having a comprehensive emergency plan in place to ensure continuity of care for patients during an emergency, disaster, or health crisis such as a pandemic. If your pharmacy or organization does not have an emergency plan, the College highly encourages the development of one as soon as possible. Several resources to aid in emergency planning developed by the College include the following:

When your pharmacy experiences pandemic related staffing issues or another emergency, some strategies to consider include:

Whatever strategy is selected, communication with the College should be initiated as soon as possible. Questions regarding isolation requirements should be directed to the appropriate health and safety department in your organization (if one exists) or Manitoba Public Health. Additional COVID-19 updates and resources can be found on the College website at https://cphm.ca/covid-19/.

PHIA Amendments Effective January 1, 2022

Amendments to the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) and to the Personal Health Information Regulation came into effect on January 1, 2022. Trustees, information managers and other pharmacy professionals should review the amendments and familiarize themselves with the changes and the updated Act here https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/p033-5e.php.

The amendments and related resources can be reviewed on the Manitoba Health and Seniors Care (MHSC) PHIA webpage and include:

Please contact the MHSC Legislative Unit at 204-788-6612 or PHIAinfo@gov.mb.ca with any questions or for additional information related to the amendments. A high-level summary of the amendments can be found below (please note this is not inclusive of all the changes).

The amendments to the Act:

  1. Strengthen the authority of the Ombudsman under the Act, including the authority to audit trustee compliance with the Act.
  2. Require that an individual and the Ombudsman be notified in a timely manner of a privacy breach relating to the individual’s personal health information that creates a real risk of serious harm to the individual. *
  3. Protect employees, officers and agents of trustees, who report to the Ombudsman contraventions of PHIA by their employer, from adverse employment action for reporting.
  4. Set out when trustees may disregard requests for access to personal health information or consider such requests to be abandoned.
  5. Explicitly state that public health information not collected for employment purposes cannot be used for that purpose without the express consent of the employee.
  6. Establish the health research privacy committee that will be required to approve all health research proposals, which require personal health information from a trustee, instead of the Health Information Privacy Committee and institutional research review committees. The purpose of this amendment is to streamline the approval process for research proposals. All such proposals are also to be approved by an ethics committee to be established by Research Manitoba.
  7. Extend the limitation period for the prosecution of offences under PHIA.

*Although PHIA only requires a patient be informed of a privacy breach if there is a “real risk of serious harm”, section 2.7.1.3 of the CPhM Records and Information Practice Direction requires a pharmacist to inform the patient and College of any personal health information privacy breach. Pharmacists must follow this higher standard. All registrants will be informed of any future changes to the Records and Information Practice Direction.

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