What will the new Representative Assembly talk about?
The Doctors of BC new governance structure has come into effect. On September 15, 2017, the Doctors of BC board of directors met, reduced from more than 40 members to 9. The 103-member Representative Assembly (RA) – made up of 35 specialty section representatives, 34 GP representatives, and more than 20 district representatives and others met for the first time the day before. In this all-day meeting of the RA, 10 minutes were allowed for the RA to bring up any issues. So, what did they say? They passed a resolution requesting another RA meeting before the next scheduled one in the February to talk about such important issues as:
- creating an agenda committee
- having observers from the RA on the Board
- automatic section and society membership
- impact and strategies around the mid-term review of the Physician Master Agreement
- review the Committee structure of the Doctors of BC
- work of Divisions integration into Doctors of BC
- UBC having observer seat
- review regional problems, e.g. Nanaimo computer order entry issues
- review lack of GPs, mix of specialists
- deciding on moving forward with committee reports
- follow up of committee reports
- how much of board agenda and reports go to RA
- react to college issues
Since the newly elected Doctors of BC Board had their first meeting the day after, members may not have had opportunity to consider the RA resolution for another meeting fully. Let’s hope future RA meetings have more time for discussion.
There is a fee code (10001) for specialists responding within 45 minutes to a request from another doctor for telephone advice. SSC fee codes such as 10001 require some documentation. Our Neurology group has found that dictating even a brief note helps to document the call and support billing, while providing tremendous communication for medical care of each patient. Wouldn’t you love to see in writing what your colleague had to say about a patient that they did a short telephone consult on? Next time you are giving some phone advice, take a minute and dictate a note.
Why should specialists care about the dramatic shortage of GPs in BC?
Recently, I have been supporting a BC Interior community and catchment area neurology service via Telehealth in their time of need. Much to my surprise, up to 50% of these patients have no GP. I have neither the experience nor skill to manage their general care, and yet here I am. These patients have to scramble for a walk-in GP appointment, plead for refills of their other medicines, and have no one to supervise their total care. As a consultant, I rely on family doctors to be involved in longitudinal care, even more so when I am doing a video conference from a distant community.
What is the long-term plan for family doctors? Specialists in general, and the Specialists of BC in particular, would be happy to try to support the Doctors of BC and Ministry of Health in any way we can.
The Overhead and Income Study
Since spring we have been offered an opportunity to participate in a randomized study of our overheads and income. A few sections have had a good participation, but unfortunately quite a few sections have not. The overhead study committee is still hoping that post-survey analysis may correct for a non-participation by some sections and some doctors. We certainly have concerns that non-random lack of participation may make decisions based on this study very difficult. We’ll have to wait and see…