Photo by Kevin Hagen / AP
This board year has been like no other. At the start of the year, we had great plans for meeting our goals of improved listening, advocacy and membership growth. We started by crafting our strategic priorities around the issues that would assist family doctors the most: recognizing family doctors as specialists, increasing remuneration and funding models for family doctors, engaging and growing our membership. Tick. Good feedback. Done.
We rebranded ourselves from SGP to BC Family Doctors. We updated our communications to be more appealing, reflective of our membership and our role. Tick. Great attendance at our brand launch event and great feedback. Done. We worked on fist-raising acknowledgement of who we are, what we do. We are specialists in generalism, in family medicine. We became the Section of Family Medicine. The fee code language is changing. Tick. Getting there.
Then came COVID-19. The pandemic gave little warning, then it was fully in our midst. We struggled with our fears as professionals, parents, siblings, and friends. Then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. That’s what you did, what this organization did. With compassion and grace, thoughtfulness and speed, we did what was necessary to care for our patients and each other.
BC Family Doctors worked with our Doctors of BC and Ministry of Health colleagues to make temporary changes to the fee guide to help our practices survive. We initiated new fee codes for COVID-19 office visits, made in-person and telehealth visits equally remunerated, and advocated for changes to substance use fee codes. In the world of slow to change, these changes were lightning speed. Perfect? No. Helpful? I think so. Supporting you through COVID-19 has been the focus of much of our time these past months. It will continue to be as we transition to the “next normal.”
Behind the scenes, we have worked to address your wishes for change. We have seen more emails to the President than ever before. We continue to work on the allocation of funds from the PMA, fee code changes, practice support resources, and communications campaigns. We are at those tables discussing inpatient care models, team-based care, screening programs, immunization plans, alternate funding models, and more.
This year, I have witnessed and experienced more community and compassion than ever before. And we needed it – we still do. In supporting each other, we ensure our patients have healthy doctors to care for them. We need to continue supporting our community of family physicians, personally and organizationally.
As I close out my presidential year, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I am grateful for the supportive, thoughtful, vocal and inspirational members of our organization. I look forward to supporting our incoming President, Dr. Jennifer Tranmer, over the next year as we shape your BC Family Doctors into the organization you need, now and for our future.