POLICY - Hepatitis
B/C/HIV-Infected Physicians/Medical Students and Physician/Medical Students
When a healthcare worker (physician or student) is infected with a blood-borne pathogen and performs exposure-prone procedures, additional measures need to be taken to assess the risk of transmission in the tasks performed and method of practice. The appropriate measures can then be put in place to limit any added risk of transmitting infections that this individual poses.
The definition of medical students for the purposes of this policy would be those who are registered on the educational roster.
The Policy for Hepatitis B/C/HIV-infected Physicians/Students and Physicians/Students with AIDS outlines a number of strategies to protect the public while allowing the infected physicians/students to continue with their clinical work. In order for these policies to provide the maximum protection to the public, the Council has adopted the following principles:
1. Physicians/students who do exposure-prone procedures have the responsibility to know their disease status;
2. Physicians/students who are infected with a blood-borne pathogen must have a treating physician;
3. Physicians/students who are infected with a blood-borne pathogen and do exposure-prone procedures must have their practice assessed; and
4. Physicians/students are bound to follow the recommendations provided by the Expert Advisory Committee with respect to their practice and the appropriate treatment of their disease.
The policy regarding blood-borne pathogens, Hepatitis B/C/HIV-infected Physicians/Students and Physicians/Students with AIDS is as follows:
1. All members of the College (including those on the educational roster), if they are infected with Hepatitis B, C, or are HIV positive, or have been diagnosed with AIDS, should report their condition to the Medical Director of the Expert Advisory Committee on Hepatitis B/C/HIV-infected Physicians/Students and Physicians/Students with AIDS.
2. The Medical Director will report the circumstances in which the physician practices to the Expert Advisory Committee of the College without identification of the physician or student member.
3. The Expert Advisory Committee will issue explicit written recommendations with respect to the alteration of scope of practice, modification of practice techniques, and/or other precautions that are deemed appropriate to protect the public from risk of harm associated with the continuing clinical practice of the physician or student member.
4. The Medical Director will communicate these recommendations to the physician in writing, will obtain a written commitment of compliance, and will implement strategies for effective continuous monitoring of physician or student member compliance with these recommendations.
5. So long as the physician or student member is well and entirely compliant with the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Committee, there is no requirement for nominal reporting to the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
6. If the physician or student member is non-compliant with any of the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Committee, the Medical Director will immediately notify the Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of such non-compliance, and the College will utilize its statutory authority to ensure compliance or to take other measures which protect the public’s interest.
7. The Expert Advisory Committee is jointly appointed by the College Council and the SMA Board, and any costs incurred in respect to maintenance of the committee are cost-shared between the two organizations.
8. The Expert Advisory Committee includes a physician with acknowledged expertise in Infectious Diseases. It also includes the Registrar or his designate as visible public evidence of the College’s commitment to maintain the standards of practice that do serve to protect the public interest. Other members should include a Medical Health Officer, a surgeon, and a physician experienced in treating patients with blood-borne pathogens.