The OMA remains a centre of activity on many fronts.
The Annual Meeting of the OMA and the Spring Council session took place in early May. Governance reforms were implemented. Elections took place, with Dr. Shawn Whatley becoming our new OMA President and Dr. Nadia Alam becoming President-Elect. The third member of the OMA Executive is the Chair of the Board, Dr. Tim Nicholas.
An agreement on a framework for binding arbitration was reached between the OMA and the government. The agreement was ratified at an OMA General meeting of the Members (GMoM) on June 17th. Over 10,000 members voted, with 65% in favour. Our Section voted 84% in favour with a 31% turnout. Negotiations on a new 4-year contract covering April 2017-March 2021 will begin no later than September 1st.
Our Section held its annual meeting in conjunction with the ORA Scientific meeting in May. We had an excellent attendance of 47 members, and a fulsome discussion regarding our Section’s priorities for the new round of negotiations.
On June 16th, I presented our priorities to the full OMA Negotiations Committee, where they were well-received. Priorities include eliminating the 4.45% fee clawback, improving relativity and income equity, and funding new models of care.
We continue to be represented at all regular and special meetings of OMA Council, at all Medical Assembly meetings and teleconferences, and at all meetings and teleconferences related to OMA initiatives.
I have been selected as an OMA Delegate to the 150th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Medical Association to be held in Quebec City in August. We had a full day caucus meeting in June to train in advocacy and to prepare for full engagement with our colleagues in other provinces.
This will be my last year as OMA Section Chair, and we are working hard on succession planning. Our current Rheumatology Section Executive remains: Chair and Delegate Philip Baer, vice-Chair Nikhil Chopra and Secretary Julie Kovacs.
I continue as an OMA representative on the Ministry of Health SADIE task force looking at modernizing the OPDP EAP program for drug access, using a web portal and eventually direct links to physicians’ EMRs. Dr. Jane Purvis and Dr. Chris McKibbon have also participated, and we are liaising with the ORA Informatics Committee as well.
Please monitor the MOHLTC website under the Health Professionals tab for new developments: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/. There are links there to OHIP Physician Bulletins: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/ohip/bulletins/ and to updates regarding the OPDP formulary, including new EAP listings: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/drugs/eap_criteria.aspx
You may also keep abreast of OMA issues by reading the Ontario Medical Review (OMR), the OMA monthly magazine available in print form and on the OMA website: www.oma.org. A recent article on WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) may be of interest to you.
You can find a link to OHIP Billing Resources and OMA Quick Reference Guides at www.oma.org/sections/billings-and-agreement
I wish all our members and their families a great summer season as we celebrate Canada150.
Philip A. Baer MDCM, FRCPC, FACR
Chair, OMA Section of Rheumatology