Physician News

Latest Physician News

Normal Saline and Dextrose Mini-Bag Shortage 

AHS is currently managing a global shortage of sodium chlorine (saline) and dextrose mini-bags, which are used to dilute medications. Conservation strategies must be implemented both by nursing and Pharmacy Services staff, in collaboration with prescribers.

Baxter, one of the largest mini-bag producers, has reported a major production issue due to a hurricane that hit its Puerto Rico production facility last month. The length of the shortage is unknown. Other mini-bag manufacturers cannot supply sufficient stock to meet market demands in Canada.

Consult the medication alert, IV to Oral (PO) Dose Conversion Chart, Clinical Practice Update and IV Direct Quick Reference Guide for more information.

Mental Health Review Panel Roster

Alberta Health is recruiting for physician psychiatrist and public members to serve on the Mental Health Review Panel Roster starting in spring 2018. The roster is an adjudicative body that considers applications pertaining to: cancellation of admission and renewal certificates for patients detained in designated facilities; return of a patient to a correctional facility after treatment; cancellation of community treatment orders; patient competence to make treatment decisions; and administration of treatment to patients who object to it under the Mental Health Act. Apply by September 10.

Physician posting | Psychiatrist posting | Public posting

For more information, visit

July 21, 2017

Primary care physicians caring for patients with opioid dependency will soon have access to expert consultation with an opioid dependency physician specialist over the phone.

Beginning Aug. 8, 2017, Physicians north or Red Deer can access the service by calling RAAPID North at 1-800-282-9911 or 1-780-735-0400. Physicians in and south of Red Deer can call RAAPID South at 1-800-661-1700 or 403-944-4488.

This telephone consult service is for primary care physicians seeking timely advice regarding prescribing drugs like buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) or methadone, as well as treating patients with existing opioid dependency.

Opioid dependence is a growing clinical and public health problem throughout Canada, including our province. This new service for physicians will allow more patients with opioid dependence to be treated in primary care settings.

For more information, visit

June 22, 2017

Emergent Drug Shortage - Sodium Bicarbonate Injections – Like other jurisdictions in North America, AHS is dealing with a global shortage of sodium bicarbonate injection. Sodium bicarbonate is used in critical care and other urgent clinical areas. It is commonly used in life-threatening situations when the blood becomes too acidic. The shortage began in September 2016 in the United States and is now affecting Canada.

AHS is conserving the drug for use in critical situations, has mitigation strategies in place to ensure a supply for critical uses and has activated the Emergency Coordination Centre to support the situation.

Sodium bicarbonate stocks have been pulled from most clinical areas, with the exception of Critical Care, Emergency Departments, Operating Rooms and Code Carts. Orders will not be processed by site pharmacy services without direct discussion with the attending physician. See the information sheet for more information regarding conservation measures.

Public updates are also available on the

May 21, 2017

Out-of-Country Health Services Appeal Panel – Are you a socially conscious, energetic and dedicated physician? Are you looking for a new and exciting opportunity that adds value to Alberta’s health care system in Alberta, while also serving to expand your network of peers and builds upon your experiences? If so, the Out-of-Country Health Services Appeal Panel (appeal panel) might be just the fit for you.

Alberta Health is recruiting to fill one physician member position on the appeal panel. As a physician member of the appeal panel, you will have the opportunity to combine your analytical and critical thinking skills with your knowledge of Alberta’s insured and publically funded health care services in order to help guide decisions.

Apply by June 25 at

March 13, 2017

Licensure Requirements for Out of Province Telehealth – Physicians planning to practice Telemedicine with patients anywhere in Canada outside of their license jurisdiction are encouraged to contact the College of Physicians & Surgeons or Professional Licensing office of their patient’s province or territory, describing the Telemedicine service they wish to provide.

December 16, 2016

Our People Survey: Thank you for participating – Physicians made their voices heard this fall and Our People Survey has closed with its highest response rte ever. Learn more by reading the thank you memo from CMO Dr. Francois Belanger.

November 25, 2016

Potential M. chimaera infections - You may be seeing reports related to Mycobacterium chimaera infections associated with certain types of heater cooler units used in cardiac surgeries. While rare, these infections have been associated with major patient morbidity and mortality. AHS has notified patients who have had cardiac surgery about this newly identified risk and some physicians may start to receive questions from this patient population. See the linked memo above for more information.

October 17, 2016

Compensation Disclosure 2017 Update – New information is available regarding employee compensation disclose in 2017. See the memo above from CMO Dr. Francois Belanger on how this might affect physicians who are AHS employees.

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