New benefit pays Manitoba doctors for work missed due to COVID-19

Manitoba doctors who test positive for COVID-19, develop symptoms, are exposed to a confirmed case or are required to isolate will now be compensated for their sick time away from work.

“Doctors are caring for patients with a variety of health conditions, in the midst of a pandemic that may require them to isolate and miss work,” Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Wednesday.

“This benefit will ensure physicians are supported when they have to step away from their clinical duties to isolate, or if they become infected with COVID-19.”

Nearly 30 physicians from across the province have tested positive for the virus and many more have had to go into isolation because of possible exposure, Friesen said.

The new compensation coverage is retroactive to Sept. 28 — when the Winnipeg metropolitan region was elevated to the restricted level — and available for physicians working in hospitals, care homes or community practice.

It will provide coverage for up to 10 days of isolation at a time. Doctors can make separate claims for up to 20 missed working days due to illness or exposure.

They will only receive the payments if they have been exposed to COVID-19 while working, not for isolation required after travel or non-work-related exposure at home or in the community.

“Whether treating patients with COVID or caring for patients with other medical issues, physicians are risking infection every day,” Dr. Cory Baillie, president of Doctors Manitoba, said in a news release from the province.

“This new support will help physicians to maintain their practice and cover their overhead costs while their work is disrupted due to isolation.”

The benefit will be in place for the duration of the pandemic, the province said.

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