Frequently Asked Questions

The following common questions have been raised by podiatric surgeons regarding the amalgamation of the College of Podiatric Surgeons of BC and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. This document will continue to evolve so please check back regularly to obtain the most up-to-date responses. To submit questions, please email cpodsbc@cpsbc.ca.

Will podiatric surgeons continue to be allowed to charge patients for orthotics?

Yes, custom orthotics are considered a specialized service, not a product; as such, podiatric surgeons will continue to be able to charge patients as usual. However, non-custom orthotics sold as re-sale products to patients are considered a product (not a service) and would be subject to the College’s Promotion and Sale of Medical Supplies and Devices practice standard. To help provide further clarity on this, the Practice Standards and Guidelines Working Group (comprised of equal representation from both Colleges) is drafting a new practice standard on the provision of orthotics. The draft practice standard will be shared with podiatric surgeons for their feedback before it is finalized.

Can podiatric surgeons continue to do simple procedures in office? 

Simple procedures that do not pose significant safety risk to patients will not require accreditation and can continue to be provided by podiatric surgeons in office. Examples include, but are not limited to, nail procedures, soft tissue procedures, wound debridement, simple incisions and drainage, excision of soft tissue masses, and bone biopsies using closed procedures. Further information on the classification of surgeries will be shared in an upcoming webinar.

Can podiatric surgeons continue to do complex procedures in office? What is defined as a complex surgery? 

Podiatric surgeons may be able to continue to do complex procedures in their offices if they meet accreditation requirements for a facility. Complex surgeries are procedures that pose a higher safety risk to patients and may include the need for more advanced analgesia. Examples include, but are not limited to, toe amputations, osteotomies, tendon repair and transfer, multi-level debridement, bone biopsies using open procedures, and hammertoe corrections. Further information on the classification of surgeries and the accreditation process will be shared in an upcoming webinar.

If podiatric surgeons must do surgery at an accredited facility, what are the standards that they will need to meet and when? Is there a transition period?

There will be a transition period in effect so that podiatric surgeons have time to review, understand, and implement processes that abide by College accreditation standards. The College acknowledges that the process to become an accredited facility will take some time, and full adherence to the accreditation standards will not be expected right away. Podiatric surgeons can continue to schedule and provide complex procedures to their patients; however, it is expected that appropriate measures to work towards accreditation are taken. The College will be holding a webinar in August to address accreditation expectations for podiatric surgeons, as well as common questions and concerns brought forward by the profession.

Will the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Code of Ethics and Professionalism apply to podiatric surgeons, even though they are not members of the CMA?

Yes, the CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism has been adopted and endorsed by the College. All registrants are expected to abide by the CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism whether they are members of the CMA or not. 

Once the amalgamation is complete will podiatric surgeons be included on Pathways?

Pathways is an initiative of Doctors of BC through the Divisions of Family Practice, not the College. Questions regarding access to Pathways should be directed to Doctors of BC through the BC Podiatric Medical Association.

Will continuing education (CE)/continuing medical education (CME) requirements change in any significant way?

CME requirements for podiatric surgeons will not change. The current requirements for CE/CME will continue upon amalgamation and will be managed through the registration department. All registrants will be required to attest to and confirm their CE/CME at time of licence renewal.

Will podiatric surgeons be allowed to join Doctors of BC as members?

Advocating for podiatric surgeons to obtain membership with Doctors of BC is not the role of the College. Questions regarding membership should be directed to Doctors of BC via the BC Podiatric Medical Association.

After the amalgamation, will podiatric surgeons’ scope be incrementally reduced?

The scope of practice for podiatric surgeons is set out in the profession’s Regulations as determined by the minister of health. Any discussion about amending scope of practice should be directed to the minister through the BC Podiatric Medical Association.

Will the College set prices for appointments and procedure billing even though podiatric surgeons do not bill and collect from the Medical Services Plan (MSP)?

The College does not have a role in setting fee codes for appointments or services offered to patients. Questions regarding fee codes should be directed to the Ministry of Health (MSP) through the BC Podiatric Medical Association.

Will podiatric surgeons be permitted to refer patients directly to other specialists instead of having to refer back to the family physician to do so? 

The College does not advocate for changing scope of practice. Questions regarding referrals should be directed to the Ministry of Health through the BC Podiatric Medical Association.

Will the College assist podiatric surgeons in reducing restrictions on prescribing narcotics once the colleges have amalgamated?

The College does not advocate for changing scope of practice. Questions regarding prescribing should be directed to the Ministry of Health through the BC Podiatric Medical Association.

Will the College be refunding money to podiatric surgeons if there is a surplus in funds following the amalgamation of the two colleges?

No. Podiatric surgeons will not be getting a “surplus” cheque upon amalgamation. Under section 25.04(1)(b) of the Health Professions Act, “the property, rights and interests of each former college continue to be the property, rights and interests of the amalgamated college.” Consequently, any surplus as of August 31 will be transferred to the newly amalgamated college’s general reserves.

What will happen to podiatric surgeons whose registration with the existing college expires on December 31, 2020? 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons will be extending all registrations to February 28, 2021. Annual licence renewal will begin on January 1 and run through the end of February.