Transitioning To Practice
Congratulations, doctor, on completing your residency and moving on to the next phase of your career. Mixed in with the euphoria and elation at having achieved such a laudable goal, you’re probably feeling a tad overwhelmed.
There’s so much to do as you enter this next phase — whether that’s independent practice or more training in a fellowship — it’s difficult to know where to begin.
To help you, we’ve listed a few of our favourite links, as well as provided information on getting licensed and getting your OHIP number, thus ensuring you make a seamless transition.
For starters, check out the HealthForceOntario MRA Transition into Practice Service. Their online modules provide practical, career-focused information sourced from experts throughout Ontario’s healthcare sector. In addition, HFO MRA advisors can help you with all aspects related to practising in Ontario, from CV development and paperwork timelines to finding suitable job opportunities. Contact HFO MRA to learn more.
Also, if you’re looking for work, please check out HFOJobs. Their site offers an up-to-date listing of locum and permanent positions in communities across Ontario.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) offers a number of tools and resources to help you build a thriving practice and maintain a healthy personal life. Take some time to review their practice management modules. Also, don’t miss the Practice Management Curriculum (PMC) seminar at your university. Final year residents – make sure to check your mailbox in the early spring for the annual “New in Practice Guide”.
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) wants you to start your practice on the right foot and make the transition process as seamless as possible. Check out their resources for residents. OMA Legal Services will review employment contracts on a complimentary basis for OMA Members so be sure to take advantage of this benefit.
OntarioMD, a wholly owned subsidiary of the OMA, supports Ontario physicians to realize increasing clinical value from their certified electronic medical records (EMRs). It offers award-winning services such as Health Report Manager (HRM), eNotifications, and other health technologies integrated with EMRs, trusted advice from Peer Leaders and practice advisors that enable physicians to deliver patient-centred care. To learn more about OntarioMD products and services, click here.
There are a few other items you need to cross off your to-do list before moving into full-time practice:
- Applying for a licence
- Getting your OHIP number
How to Apply for Independent Practice Licence
If you are planning to enter practice in Ontario you need a licence for independent practice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). You can request an application directly from the CPSO’s Registration Department and find out more information here.
Applications for final-year residents are available in April on-ine or by telephone (416) 967-2617, ext. 221 or toll free at 1-800-268-7096. When you call you will need to identify yourself as a graduate of a Canadian medical school and say that you are completing residency in an Ontario program.
Licensure for independent practice requires two key elements:
- Successful completion of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Parts I & II.
- Certification by either the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
We suggest being proactive on this. The CPSO recommends that applications be submitted approximately six weeks in advance of your planned starting date for independent practice.
Although you will not have received certification at this time, the CPSO will wait to receive confirmation of certification by either the CFPC or RCPSC. This confirmation will be transmitted directly to the CPSO as soon as it is permitted. This usually takes place around mid-June for the CFPC but no earlier than June 30th for the RCPSC.
Once confirmation is received, your application can be fully processed and you will be issued an Independent Practice Certificate. The CPSO cannot promise that you will be licensed by a particular date, but early submission of the application will greatly facilitate the process. It’s worth a phone call, to make sure that everything has been approved, before you start working.
And remember, that your CPSO annual membership fee and the one-time application fee must be enclosed with the application. These fees are subject to change (usually in March). The CPSO will accept payment by VISA or MasterCard, and the application package contains all necessary forms for this. In addition, your application form will need to be signed in the presence of a notary, lawyer, or commissioner of oaths.
If you plan to work in another province, you will have to contact that region’s provincial licensing authority for relevant timelines and documentation.
Also remember that your practice licence is completely different from either your CMPA coverage or your OHIP billing number. Each of these is arranged through different organizations and processes. You must have both your CMPA number (it’s the same one you’ve had since you started residency) and your CPSO number if you want to start working after graduation.
How to Apply for OHIP Billing Number
You can only apply for a billing number once you have a licence for independent practice. However, the good news is that you can begin working as soon as you have a licence and OHIP will pay you for insured services, so long as you keep clear records and submit them within six months of providing the care.
To obtain your billing number application, call the OHIP office at (416) 314-7495 or find the application online. For this, you will need document 014-3384-83 — the Registration for Regulated Health Professions.
Typically, it takes 4-6 weeks to be issued a billing number. Once you receive that, you can then submit claims. If you submit by mid-month, you will likely see payment around the middle of the following month.
Long-Term Disability Insurance After Residency
Upon completion of your residency, you may choose to work as a self-employed physician. It’s important to think about what type of benefits are important to you because you will be relying on yourself to provide the package many employed individuals take for granted.
Disability insurance is one of the most important benefits anyone can have and PARO, in conjunction with the Ontario Medical Association, has developed the Essentials Insurance offer to help you make a seamless transition from your residents’ group plan to your own Association Group Life and Disability Insurance program.
We say seamless because the Essentials program allows you to purchase Life, Disability Income and Professional Overhead Expense coverage, without any medical or financial underwriting within 120 days of completing your residency program. In addition, the Step Rate premiums for both Disability Insurance and Professional Overhead Expense coverage will be reduced by 50% for the first two years under Essentials.
Here’s what the Essentials program allows you to purchase:
- Up to $5,000 per month of Disability Income Insurance. Benefits are subject to a 90-day elimination period. You can also request:
- Own Occupation Rider;
- Retirement Protection Rider (RPR)
- Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Rider, and;
- Guaranteed Insurability Benefit (GIB) Rider.
In addition, you may also apply to exercise the GIB option at the time of application and increase your monthly disability benefit, without medical evidence or financial documentation to:
- $7,000 (from all sources) for Family Physicians
- $10,000 (from all sources) for Specialists
- Up to $5,000 per month of Professional Overhead Expense Insurance, subject to a 30-day elimination period.
- $100,000 Group Term Life Insurance
Please Click here for full details on the OMA Essentials offer.