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.

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.

Will podiatric surgeons be required to get a new MSP number?

No, MSP numbers will not change.

Will podiatric surgeons need to update their prescription pads to include their College ID number (CPSID)?

As of Wednesday, October 7, 2020, all prescriptions must have the CPSID listed. Podiatric surgeons must cross out the existing number on their prescription pads and write in their CPSID.

Accreditation

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 meet 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 must apply for provisional accreditation and attest to a minimum subset of the full set of standards by February 28, 2021. Podiatric surgeons can continue to schedule and provide procedures to their patients as they currently do; however, to continue to provide complex procedures after February 28, 2021, they must be granted provisional accreditation.

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, superficial soft tissue procedures, simple wound debridement, simple incisions and drainage, excision of superficial soft tissue masses, and bone biopsies using closed procedures.

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 are identified on the appropriate procedures list for accredited facilities. 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.

Is there a list of procedures that can be performed in an office and a list of procedures that must be performed in an accredited non-hospital facility?

The Non-Hospital Medical and Surgical Facilities Accreditation Program (NHMSFAP) Committee will need to review specific podiatric procedures to determine whether they are appropriate for the office setting or whether they must be performed in an accredited facility. 

Are podiatric surgeons accredited or are facilities accredited?

Facilities are accredited, but all medical staff in accredited non-hospital facilities must undergo an appointment process. Privileges at a non-hospital facility are requested through the medical director of the facility. The NHMSFAP reviews and verifies the privileges granted by the facility medical director.

Where can podiatric surgeons find credentialing requirements for working in non-hospital facilities?

What is the timeline for podiatric surgeons to become accredited by the NHMSFAP?

February 28, 2021 is the due date for applications for provisional accreditation where there will be a minimal subset of the entire set of NHMSFAP standards that must be met.

February 28, 2022 is the due date for year two applications for provisional accreditation where all standards must be met.

Can a podiatric surgeon be the medical director of a non-hospital facility?

While the NHMSFAP Committee has not discussed or confirmed this yet, it is expected that the medical director of a non-hospital facility providing solely podiatric services could be a podiatric surgeon. 

If a podiatric surgeon chooses not to pursue accrediting their own office but would like to start operating at a colleague’s accredited non-hospital facility, do they need to apply to that facility by February 2021?

Yes, podiatric surgeons who plan to work in non-hospital facilities should apply to the medical director of the facility to provide services. When the NHSMFAP reviews the applications for provisional accreditation for a non-hospital facility, they will also review the applications for privileges at that facility.

Do podiatric surgeons who are already working in accredited non-hospital facilities have to reapply on a yearly basis?

Yes, all medical staff must be reappointed on a yearly basis. The reapplication form is to be kept on file at the facility and a copy submitted to the NHMSFAP as outlined in the form or as requested.

Will all podiatric surgeons get the application for having a surgical center?

The College will send the application to all podiatric surgeons who perform procedures that need to be done in an accredited facility in September.

What fee is the facility charged for the assessment and reassessment?

The NHSMFAP operates on a cost recovery basis. Facilities pay an annual fee and must cover the cost of the accreditation assessment every four years.

Will podiatric surgeons be required to be board certified to keep doing surgery?

The BC Medical Quality Initiative (BC MQI) started the process of developing credentialing and privileging dictionaries to determine the credentials and currency required of any physician working in a health authority facility to be privileged. The BC MQI has agreed to develop privileging dictionaries for podiatric procedures as well.

Can podiatric surgeons continue operating as they currently are between now and February 2021?

Yes. The College does not expect podiatric surgeons to put their regularly scheduled surgeries on hold. There will be a transition period to allow for podiatric surgeons to become compliant with College standards and attain accreditation.

Is there a podiatric surgeon on the NHMSFAP Committee? 

No. The physician members of the NHMSFAP Committee do not represent any organization or specialty. They are appointed due to their independent clinical expertise to support the committee. The College has a mix of specialties that represent the type of work done in the non-hospital facilities, and where it does not, it seeks external expert advice. The College also tries to have a medical director of a non-hospital facility on the committee—not to represent facilities, but to provide insight into how facilities operate.

What type of inspections will be required for podiatric surgeons who are not working in accredited facilities?

The Physician Practice Enhancement program through the Physician Office Medical Device Reprocessing Assessments initiative will review the medical device reprocessing in all podiatrist offices that are not accredited. All facilities, including those requiring accreditation, will have a POMDRA assessment within one year of amalgamation. Those requiring accreditation will be required to meet all of the NHMSFAP standards by February 28, 2022, which are more rigorous than office medical device reprocessing standards.

Will there be an independent review of standards specifically for podiatric surgical facilities?

All standards applicable to a facility to accommodate those procedures within the scope of podiatric surgeons already exist within the NHMSFAP standards. There are no standards specific for podiatric practice.