We are now 6 months+ into the pandemic in Ontario, possibly in Wave 2, and I am sure COVID fatigue has set in. While virtual care is now second nature, and in-person care has resumed to a varying extent, life remains more difficult for us and for our patients.
We have won the battle to ensure E078 can be billed with the K083 code. For those who previously billed for non-OTN virtual visits using only the K083 equivalent of the base visit fees, we are still waiting for a solution from OHIP (promised for October) to allow you to bill the balance, equivalent to the value of E078.
We have held successful virtual ORA Board meetings, including a modified Summer retreat in June and a budgeting and planning meeting in Sept. Our November Industry Council will also be virtual, as will all other Board and Committee meetings for the foreseeable future.
The ORA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) will definitely be held from May 28-30, 2021, using an innovative and interactive virtual format. Dr. Janet Pope continues to organize this event. Our entire star-studded roster of speakers confirmed for the 2020 event has agreed to participate in 2021. They include Drs. Joseph Smolen, Maya Buch, Michelle Petri, Jeffrey Curtis, Christopher Ritchlin, Robert Inman, Shahin Jamal, Robert Bell and Jason Lee. Full details can be found on our website www.ontariorheum.ca
In the background, all ORA committees continue to actively function and deal with their mandates. Drug shortages, biosimilars, and transitions in and out of practice are key areas we are focused on. The new Northern Ontario committee, chaired by Sahil Koppikar, has been particularly active and will be conducting a virtual workshop, already fully subscribed.
The Informatics Committee has officially signed contracts with vendors, launching phase 1 of the ORDER project, aiming to create a dashboard for a rheumatology EMR, which will allow participants to view their own practice outcomes, and compare themselves to the aggregate of participating rheumatologists within the province. The ultimate goal is to provide an enhanced EMR user experience, while improving patient outcomes in a measurable fashion. Special thanks to Tom Appleton who has led this effort diligently for years, and to all his committee members.
Our EAP Committee has been rebranded as the ORA Government Affairs Committee, now ably led by Jane Purvis. Ensuring new entrants to the rheumatology space, including biosimilar companies and their patient support programs, perform as we have come to expect is a major initiative currently underway.
Transitions are inevitable in all organizations. At the ORA, we celebrated the retirement on September 30th of our long-time Executive Director, Denis Morrice. Denis is well-known to all stakeholders in the arthritis space and was instrumental in guiding the ORA to its current strong position. Sandy Kennedy, previously our ORA Project Manager, has taken over Denis’ position.
Our ORA Board, Executive, Committee chairs and members continue to work hard on behalf of the ORA membership and their patients during these challenging times. Please consult the ORA website or contact us if we can assist with any practice issues. As well, there are always opportunities for ORA members to participate in ORA activities and committees. Check out our website for more information.
Membership renewal notices have gone out. Please renew early and complete the renewal questionnaire which is very helpful to us for ORA planning purposes.
Above all, stay safe!