Posted 2023/02/02 & filed under Uncategorized.

Dear Specialist Colleagues:

Hard to believe that the fall is nearing an end and a new year is almost upon us! I wanted to update you on the work that Consultant Specialists of BC has been doing on your behalf since the last snapshot.

What we’ve been working on:
• Specialist nomenclature – As you know, BC Family Doctors (BCFD) has been lobbying to utilize the term Specialist when referring to themselves and their credentialing. We have concerns about this blurring of terminology and feel that it is neither in the interests of the profession nor patients. The College has proposed bylaw changes that would permit Family Physicians to refer to themselves as “Specialists in Family Medicine” but would not allow them to utilize the terminology of Specialist in isolation. BCFD has requested that physicians should specify what type of Specialist they are, effectively rendering the term ‘Specialist’ meaningless as a differentiating term which quickly and clearly delineates differences in training and scope of practice between Specialists and Family Physicians. It is now critical that the College and Ministry of Health hear your individual voices.

Please write to the College at [email protected] and to the Ministry at [email protected] by January 15, 2022 about the proposed bylaw changes as they value individual over institutional feedback from doctors. The College website has more information about the proposed bylaw change.

• Consultant Specialists of BC renewal
o Rebranding – In September, we officially rebranded from Specialists of BC (SBC) to the updated Consultant Specialists of BC (cSBC).
o Website upgrade – We have begun the project of updating our website. Many of the navigation links have already been updated. The next step is an updated homepage that is more reflective of the diverse work that we do as Specialists. We want to create a collage of BC Specialists at work for our homepage. We need photos of you! Please send photos of yourselves in your work gear to [email protected]
o Communication with members – via these regular snapshots we continue to endeavour to keep you informed!
• Uninsured patients – We are actively lobbying to ensure physicians are paid for the care that they provide to uninsured BC patients. The cost of this care should be borne by government and should not be placed on the backs of physicians providing care.
• New fee item application delays – We are seeing unprecedented delays with MSP processing new fee item applications. Most concerning are the delays in processing the applications requesting funding from the New Fee Item Fund for which $1 million per year of targeted funding was negotiated in the 2019 PMA. The delays in processing these applications have effectively resulted in monies negotiated for Specialists in the last PMA being withheld. We are lobbying to address the backlog of applications and ensure that monies negotiated in a PMA for Specialists are paid to Specialists in a timely manner.
• Re-referrals – The re-referral system and related billing parameters have been problematic for Specialists and Family Physicians alike for many years. A report released by the Consultation Working Group has brought this on-going issue to the fore. In recent weeks, we have heard from many of you with concerns. We know that Specialist physicians work earnestly and tirelessly to provide high quality care, including intermittent longitudinal care, to BC’s most complex patients. We are working on an approach to address this issue that will be more workable for all physicians while maintaining income neutrality and reflecting the important collaborative care that Specialists and Family Physicians have always provided to BC patients. In the meantime, it must be clearly understood that re-referrals are still required for patients who have previously been referred to a Specialist, consultation has been provided, and the patient has been discharged back to the Family Physician, even if the repeat referral is for the same issue.

Other news:
• Specialist symposium postponed – The second co-sponsored SSC-cSBC Specialist Symposium that was planned for January 29, 2022 has been postponed. In light of the ever-changing pandemic it was felt that an in-person meeting of this magnitude was not prudent at this time.
• Doctors of BC Leadership – We learned recently that the Doctors of BC Board of Directors has voted for a change in Chief Executive Officer. We will continue to monitor this situation and wish to thank Mr Allan Seckel for his many years of service. We also wish to extend our thanks to Dr Matthew Chow, retiring President of Doctors of BC, who has led our profession with incredible dignity and poise. We welcome our incoming Doctors of BC President, Dr Ramneek Dosanjh, and President-Elect, Dr Joshua Greggain.
It has been another difficult year for the world. We have seen hardship and heartbreak in our province, but at the same time resilience and acts of kindness and humanity. Wishing you all good health and good fortune for the year to come. We will continue to work on your behalf and will keep you informed.

Kind regards,

Dr Chris Hoag