Agreement update


Program director. The search for the program director is nearing the end, with a decision expected in May. The successful candidate will oversee the implementation of electronic medical records and computer hardware into physicians’ offices.

Proposals. An evaluation is underway with the initial review of the 33 proposals that were submitted to be one of the up to six successful vendors for this project. The next phase is to evaluate and test the software vendors included as part of their submission. All of the evaluations should be completed by the end of June, and the list of successful vendors will be announced in July. The people who are evaluating the written proposals include clinical and non-clinical representatives from the BCMA and the Ministry of Health. Physicians will be the primary testers of how well the software works in an office setting.

Pilot projects. The pilot projects are scheduled to begin in August or September. However, due to technical requirements, it’s possible that not all successful vendors will be ready to start at the same time. Criteria for selecting the pilot physician groups will be finalized in May, at which time physicians will be asked to indicate whether they are interested in participating.

Sun Microsystems. Last month’s announcement by the provincial government regarding its selection of Sun Microsystems (BC) Inc. is a separate matter from the electronic medical record (EMR) software vendor selection that the BCMA and the Ministry of Health are currently working on. Our work is focused on providing physicians with the opportunity to implement EMRs into their offices. By contrast, Sun Microsystems and a consortium of partners will develop and implement an interoperable electronic health record (iEHR) for the government that will change the way lab results and other essential patient information is securely shared among provincial health care practitioners.


The BCMA and the Ministry of Health have accepted the report of the Medical On-Call Availability (MOCAP) Review Team. To read the report and the team’s recommendations, please go to the member web site, click on Report listed under MOCAP in the Agreement News section (you may need to scroll down).


Practice Support Program. The first part of the Practice Support Program is well underway, with more than 1700 participants. At these workshops, GPs and MOAs are learning about different ways to manage their practices for greater professional satisfaction and easier patient access.

The next phase of the program is for GPs and MOAs to start implementing the changes they want to make at a pace that’s convenient for them. Regional support teams will be available as a resource for GPs and their teams as the new ways of practising are put in place. For more information or to participate, call Maria dela Cruz at 604 638 2873.

New fees

The new complex care fees were introduced in April to compensate GPs for the extra time required to provide planned care for patients with more complex health care problems who live at home or in an assisted-living facility (excluding long-term care facilities). This means that in addition to the fees you already receive for looking after patients with complex care issues, you can now bill these new complex care fees. 

The new prevention fee was created to reward the intervention and knowledge of the GP, and to retain and encourage these physicians who already provide preventive care. This fee is payable after GPs complete a cardiovascular risk assessment of patients who are males ages 40–49 or females ages 50–59. This fee is payable in addition to office visit fee(s) billed the same day, and is payable once per calendar year per patient.

The current funding for prevention is only 5% of the new funds allocated to GP Services in the 2006 Letter of Agreement. The GP Services Committee is also charged under the 2006 agreement with evaluating and reporting on the outcomes of any initiatives it introduces. The committee therefore felt that it would be more likely to see a measurable difference with a more focused initiative at this time.

For more information about the complex care fee and the prevention fee, please go to the member web site and click on Prevention Fee under Agreement News.

—Fiona Youatt
BCMA Communications

Book review

Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy. Theodore Dalrymple. New York: Encounter Books, 2006. ISBN 1594030871. Hardcover, 165 pages. $27.95.

Under a nom de plume, Dr Theodore Dalrymple shares his experience as a jailhouse psychiatrist and his perspectives on the use, misuse, and abuse of opiates. He challenges some of the paradigms of chemical dependency and believes that a different approach to the treatment of opiate dependency is required.

While I find some merit to his questioning of historical beliefs about opiate use, in the end I am left with the impression that Dr Dalrymple has abandoned the triological psychological-social-spiritual matrix that most physicians use when treating opiate dependency. While a more complete understanding of the neurobiology of addiction has eluded scientists, moral shortcomings should not even be considered as a causality for this complex, chronic disorder. I agree that opiate tolerance and withdrawal syndrome alone do not explain the compulsion, cravings, and loss of control that is experienced by those who have opiate dependency. I disagree that opiate dependency is a choice, and that some have chosen badly. Read this book for the few pearls that you will find—the rest of the oyster may leave a bad taste in your mouth.


Mobile auto insurance road service

Recently a doctor’s spouse was stopped by the police because she had forgotten to renew her insurance. She didn’t know what to do so she called the Mardon Group in a panic. They renewed her coverage and drove out to her with the decal, effectively rescuing her. As a result of this and other similar incidents, Mardon felt there was a need to start a concierge-style service in which BCMA members can have their ICBC Auto Insurance policy delivered at no charge to home or office.

Renewing policies. If your ICBC insurance is close to expiring (or even expired) and you are having difficulty getting out to renew your policy, you can call the Mardon Group to arrange delivery of your renewal documents by their mobile road service agent to your home or office in the Lower Mainland, or by courier service anywhere else in British Columbia.

New plate policies. If you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealership or importing a vehicle from out of the province, a Mardon representative can meet you to arrange the registration and licensing of your vehicle. Mardon can also provide quotes for new vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, snowmobiles, or all terrain vehicles.

Special transactions. The Mardon Group is also experienced in handling special transactions such as estate vehicle transfers, out-of-province vehicle registration, and temporary binders, or if you require a special coverage policy. 

To take advantage of this new complimentary service, fax or e-mail your inquiries to the Mardon Group at 604 877-7762 or toll free 866 806-4467 attention Noeleen Ram (e-mail nram@mgins.ca). A Mardon representative will call you to discuss and deliver your ICBC Auto Insurance policy.

—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Benefits

Correction: Mr Garth Evans

In the March 2007 issue we incorrectly added the letters “MD” after Garth Evans’ name in the article “Taking our water supply for granted” (BCMJ 2007;49[2]:62,94). Mr Evans has never purported to be a physician—this was an error made in the heat of the editorial process. We sincerely apologize to Mr Evans for any confusion this may have caused.—ED

Fiona Youatt,, Heidi M. Oetter, MD, Sandie Braid, CEBS. Pulsimeter. BCMJ, Vol. 49, No. 5, June, 2007, Page(s) 272 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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