I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

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Category: Credentialing


The crisis phase is over – the emergency continues – how should health leaders move forward?

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I have noticed over the last month that the tone of conversations has changed and social critique has resurfaced. Individuals are rightly asking more questions. There is greater need in all aspects of life and public service for clarity and certainty.  There are more queries and complaints about the impact of decisions made in the… Read more »


COVID-19: Professional Staff Credentialing Considerations for Ontario Hospitals

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The Public Hospitals Act deals with the relationship between hospitals and their Professional Staff members (physicians, dentists, midwives and some nurse practitioners). In a pandemic, pull out your Professional Staff By-laws and look for provisions dealing with temporary appointments to the Professional Staff to deal with an emergency. The concept of temporary appointments should be… Read more »


Key issues hospitals need to manage when recruiting non-licensed MDs to non-medical positions

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Not everyone who trains as a physician practices medicine or continues to practice medicine. Some choose to work in a hospital environment but not as a physician such as in administration, research, information technology, finance, risk, law, policy, public relations, or interdisciplinary professional practice. Medical training can be an enormous advantage for a candidate applying… Read more »


What do medical affairs leaders in hospitals do?

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One of my favourite activities is working with medical affairs leaders in hospitals managing complaints and concerns about physicians.  But when I tell people about that work – I get a few quizzical looks. Medical affairs? What is that? The public knows very little about the tangled web relationship between hospitals and physicians and their… Read more »



Professional Staff Leaves of Absence – is your hospital prepared?

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Does your hospital explain to your Professional Staff members the rules about taking a leave of absence? Remember: Professional Staff members may include doctors, dentists, midwives and independent contractor nurse practitioners. Since members of the Professional Staff are usually independent contractors and not employees of a hospital, they independently arrange for their colleagues to cover… Read more »


Professional Staff succession planning – does your hospital have a plan?

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Professional Staff in hospitals are doctors, dentists, midwives and privileged staff nurse practitioners. Does your hospital have a plan to deal with Professional Staff retirements, departures and recruitment? Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You are worried about a future brain drain – when you look into the future, you can see the possibly of… Read more »


Have you looked at your hospital’s Professional Staff Rules and Regulations lately?

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Back in the 1980s and 90s, many hospitals published Medical Staff “Rules and Regulations”. And in some cases, that package then went dormant as hospital-wide policies and procedures were introduced. Have a look on your intranet. Do you have Rules and Regulations that are still on the books but have not been updated in awhile?… Read more »



What do hospital boards need to know about Professional Staff credentialing?

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As you may know, the Auditor General released a report criticizing the Public Hospitals Act Professional Staff appointment appeals process for being time-consuming and costly. Here is an excerpt from that report. Auditor General Report 2016 Excerpt Your hospital board may be interested to hear what it’s all about and their 18 responsibilities and the 9 tools… Read more »

Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our April program is on COVID-19 and the May program will address governance tips and tricks.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month (Next up: May 6 and June 3)

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Team Privacy Training Events
March 31, April 17, May 6, June 17

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

Kate trains health professionals from many more health care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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