After 50 years as a member of the BCMA I feel comfortable in expressing some observations. I am disappointed.
The BCMA has remained a most divisive organization, as destructive and irreconcilable as the divisions of Islam at times, but more readily curable. Instead of our factions fighting each other for the crumbs of government, each could employ a bargaining agent to promote vested interests and the struggle would be between them rather than between us. Some alternative to the traditional trenches needs to be developed so we do not eternally antagonize each other and waste our energies and our mission.
The feeble negotiating outcomes of the BCMA are responsible, second only to government, for the destruction of a once enviable quality of primary care in this province. Indirectly, we have been irresponsible in the care of the patient. A few days ago I paid $160 for a routine dental check and minimal teeth cleaning. There was no disease to be managed or ongoing care, no tests to be ordered and evaluated, no consults to be dictated, no trips to the hospital, no interfering urgent phone calls, no consultation with the family, no hasty exits to emergency across town, no sleep deprivation, etc. For more than equivalent effort and expertise a family doctor or emergency physician is paid 20% of this ($29) and we are valuing this dental fee to equal that of a cardiology or neurology consultation.
Somehow we have not pegged our costs and reimbursements to the realities of other health professionals. Cost-of-living clauses do not mirror the costs of running an office. The BCMA has failed its members and the community in this matter. On issues of health such as seatbelts, bicycle helmets, and smoking, the BCMA has acted commendably and the officers of the BCMA have been enormously generous of their time and dedication.
But the bottom line is a disaster, as is the collegiality of the Association.
—Michael A. Ross, MD
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