The OAC Board of Directors welcomes this opportunity to reflect on the 2022-23 membership year and outline plans for the Association’s growth in 2023-24.
2022-23 was filled with many achievements. These included the conclusion of successful negotiations with Accreditation Canada for an Echocardiography Quality Improvement (EQI) Program Facility Agreement, and the expansion of OHIP fees – particularly the introduction of a premium to recognize the complexity and time required to provide congestive heart failure patient care – after a decade of government funding cuts. In addition, we developed and submitted to the OMA Cardiology’s negotiations priorities for the 2024 physician services agreement (PSA).
Our membership numbers grew in 2022-23 as did registration in the OAC-Lantheus Definity® group purchasing program. We expect this procurement program to serve as a template going forward for other products, supplies, and services critical to our members’ clinical practices. The OAC was also pleased once again to be a sponsor of the Canadian Society of Echocardiography’s 25th Annual Weekend (April 13-15, 2023), including the Dr. James (Jim) Swan Lecture held in honour of the OAC’s former long-time president who passed away in June 2021.
Our speciality also encountered setbacks in 2022-23, such as the imposition of new virtual care rules that unfairly restrict patient access to telephone virtual care. These rules hurt many vulnerable populations including the elderly, the poor, and those who live in rural and remote parts of the province. Moreover, the OMA’s advancement of the FAIR relativity model for use within the 2024 PSA is genuinely concerning given its divisive effects on our specialty and the entire medical profession.
As we look ahead to 2023-24, the OAC will focus its efforts on continued growth and advocacy initiatives that include the following:
- Create new membership categories to retain and attract new members to the Association.
- Recruit new members to serve on the Board of Directors to fill current vacancies and ensure wide representation of the specialty.
- Promote Cardiology’s funding priorities within the 2021 PSA Year 3 specialty allocation process, and the 2024 PSA negotiations process.
- Oppose the use of the FAIR relativity model in the 2024 PSA and advocate for an alternative that assigns rational value to patient-facing activities, tests, and procedures within and across sections.
- Shape the Ministry of Health’s budget process and the OMA-Ministry of Health negotiations to ensure sufficient funding is allocated to support cardiac patient care.
- Protect the interests of OAC members as Accreditation Canada transitions the mandatory EQI accreditation program to a user-pay model.
- Offer support to members through the introduction of various practice management education sessions.
- Expand group purchasing program opportunities to include more products and supplies critical to community-based cardiology practices.
The OAC recognizes and understands the challenges facing our members. Our number one priority is serving as the voice of our members and advocating on your behalf whether you work in an academic health sciences centre, a community hospital, an outpatient ambulatory clinic, or in solo practice.
The OAC is small compared to many health care professional organizations but, for more than 25 years, our Association has maintained a strong presence on the Ontario health care landscape. As a voluntary professional organization, separate and distinct from the OMA, the OAC works to shape the direction of cardiologist-led patient care in the province through strong advocacy, professional leadership, and partnerships with standards development and accreditation organizations. Our mission is to make Ontario the best place to practice cardiology and receive high quality cardiac patient care.
To be successful, we need as many cardiologists as possible to be members of the OAC. This is the only way to maintain our strong presence at Queen’s Park and on the provincial health care landscape. If you are currently an OAC member, we encourage you to renew your membership for 2023-24 now. If you are not a member and care about the future of cardiac care in Ontario, please join the OAC today.
The OAC’s Board of Directors would like to thank all OAC members for the confidence that they have bestowed upon it. We look forward to working on your behalf to achieve our shared priorities in 2023-24.