Doctors of BC Annual General Meeting 2017

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 6, July August 2017, Pages 3328-333 Beyond Medicine

To kick off the meeting, Mr Allan Seckel, CEO of Doctors of BC, informed the assembled members that Dr Michael Golbey’s name had been put forward to chair the meeting, and with no other nominations forthcoming, Dr Golbey was elected chair of the 2017 Annual General Meeting.

3 June 2017, Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver, BC

To kick off the meeting, Mr Allan Seckel, CEO of Doctors of BC, informed the assembled members that Dr Michael Golbey’s name had been put forward to chair the meeting, and with no other nominations forthcoming, Dr Golbey was elected chair of the 2017 Annual General Meeting. Drs Alan Gow and Jeffrey Dresselheus were elected members of the Resolution Committee. The agenda for the 3 June 2017 meeting was approved unanimously, as were the minutes of the 2016 AGM.

President’s report
Dr Ruddiman stated he’d traveled the province extensively, advocating for specialists and GPs alike. “History was embraced yesterday at the last meeting of the Board,” he stated, praising the Board members, “who voted themselves out of a position by voting for the new system.” He commended Board members for their time and commitment, especially those from outside the Lower Mainland, knowing full well that the job includes long travel times—time away from their work and family. He thanked the senior management of the association and particularly recognized the three physician employees, Drs Brenda Hefford, Sam Bugis, and Andrew Clarke; Christine Donnelly, manager of the executive office for keeping him on time and in place; and Mr Seckel for being a good leader of an excellent team—the staff and membership—and “always encouraging them to think and shoot higher.” He stated he was confident the association was in good hands and would continue its stellar work under the capable leadership of Dr Trina Larsen Soles, the incoming president. 

CEO’s report
Mr Allan Seckel referred members to the Doctors of BC Report to Members that summarizes the activities of the association over the last year, saying he was proud to be the representative of about 220 staff members who work at Doctors of BC. He assured physicians that their profession is well served by this team that is guided by the purpose statement, “together, let’s make a difference so our doctors can make theirs.” He noted his pride in informing the meeting that for the second year in a row Doctors of BC has been certified as a Great Place to Work. He thanked members for supporting Doctors of BC by way of their membership and said that he looked forward to the successful implementation of the new governance structure.

Report of the Statutory Negotiating Committee
Dr David Attwell stated that the committees had not met as the negotiations process had not yet started.

When he opened the floor to questions, members raised issues on diverse topics such as interdisciplinary care, physician leadership, quality improvement, the crisis in urban primary care, and collaborative care, all of which Dr Attwell facilitated diplomatically.

Report of the Board of Directors
Dr Mark Corbett noted Doctors of BC’s organizational goals to provide fair economic reward and professional satisfaction for physicians, and to create a favorable social, economic, and political climate in which members can provide the citizens of BC with the highest standard of health care. He stated the Board functioned very successfully over the last year to achieve these goals. He noted that over the last year the 3-year strategic plan had been completed, and he was confident in the progress that had been made. Development of new a strategic plan will be handled by the new, smaller Board, which will become operational in September. He stated that the strong working relationships between all senior staff informs and supports the organization and that he looked forward to September and seeing many members in whatever roles they chose to commit to in the new governance structure.

Dr Robin Saunders stated that Dr Corbett had been an exemplary Board chair whose quiet organizational skills were much appreciated, and thanked Dr Corbett on behalf of the membership. Dr Brad Fritz further commented that the last Board had been very professional and focused as it pushed for the new governance model with leadership from Dr Bill Cavers, and acknowledged the efforts of Drs Corbett and Cavers and the Board members for a job well done.

Report of the Audit and Finance Committee
Dr Michael Curry thanked staff for their work, especially Ms Sarah Vergis, Doctors of BC chief financial officer, for being an excellent resource in maintaining the association’s finances along with Mr Allan Seckel, and Ms Jo Phillips, accounting manager. He referred members to the financial statements in the Report to Members and briefly reviewed them for the assembled members. He highlighted that the Student Bursary Fund is held at $2 million: in 2016 bursaries of $1750 each were awarded to 125 UBC medical students; the Medical Care Fund was increased by $1 million for a total of $4 million; the Negotiations Stabilization Fund remained at $1 million; and the Property and Equipment Fund was depleted due to renovations. Dr Curry noted that 64% of Doctors of BC revenue is derived from membership dues, with the remaining money coming from management fees for joint clinical committee programs, insurance administration fees, and government funding for the General Practice Services Committee, Shared Care, and the Specialist Services Committee. He reassured meeting attendees that the bottom-line figure was within the guidelines for not-for-profit organizations and that the statements presented had been verified by our auditors, KPMG LLP. 

To Dr John Turner’s questions about increased Physician Health Program funding, Dr Curry stated that because the College of Physicians had withdrawn funding to this program, Doctors of BC had stepped in. Dr Turner also asked about the program’s accountability (“To whom, and how do we find out about it?”). Dr Curry stated that it was a negotiated program, and Mr Seckel explained that as a joint program it has its own financial statements. Regarding accountability, he stated that Doctors of BC appoints half the members and the government the other half. 

Dr Evert Tuyp stated that the Rural Education Action Plan gives UBC medical students money to enable them to get rural experience. He pointed out that students think that it is a scholarship, but at tax time they find out that they actually have to declare it as income on their returns. He suggested that the committee look into this for the benefit of students and attempt to reclassify the monies distributed as a scholarship, or that Doctors of BC inform students ahead of time to keep receipts and track expenses so they can at least claim them later on their taxes. Dr Curry stated that both UBC and Doctors of BC will ensure adequate communication on this issue.

There being no further questions, the motion to accept the audited 2016 financial statements was passed and KPMG LLP was reappointed auditors for the 2017–18 fiscal year.

Dr Curry informed the meeting that in 2016 there were 14 923 active Doctors of BC members: 8486 full-paying ordinary members, 1222 residents, 2245 other members (first-year, part-time, inactive, etc.), and 2970 complimentary (includes students). This represents an increase of 1500 members over last year. Since Doctors of BC is in the black, no increase in dues was recommended for the 2018 fiscal year.

Dr Cathy Clelland asked, “As we move into a new governance model, is there anything in place to deal with possible increased costs of the new Representative Assembly?” Dr Curry stated that Doctors of BC has a surplus and that any overruns could be covered from it and, if need be, budgeting can be looked at again next year.

The new governance structure will have two components: a board of nine members meeting nine times per year and a 104-member representative assembly (RA) meeting three times per year. Dr Curry informed the meeting that honoraria for the RA would have to be approved by the members attending the 2017 AGM (honoraria for the Board will be approved by the RA at their first meeting, 14 September 2017). He proposed that all RA members be paid at the committee honoraria rate for meetings, with the speaker and deputy speaker receiving an additional stipend ($15 000 and $5000 respectively). The three motions in regard to honoraria for the RA were moved by Dr Curry, seconded by Dr Bill Cavers, and passed unanimously.

Report of the Governance Committee
Dr Bill Cavers congratulated the membership on their decision regarding the restructuring of the association with the referendum resulting in a 92.5% approval rate. 

Dr Ramneek Dosanjh, president-elect for the Society of General Practitioners of BC (SGP), thanked the committee for their hard work. However, she said she found it “unnerving that only three meetings a year had been scheduled for the RA.” She stated she was concerned about the effectiveness of the RA and how it will move forward. She proposed that an additional meeting be held in November because the first meeting will be largely devoted to administration processes and in bringing new members of the RA up to speed. A motion was made by Dr Dosanjh and seconded by Dr John Faulkner “That the AGM of the Doctors of BC support having a fourth meeting of the Representative Assembly for the 2017–18 year.” After arguments both in favor of and opposed to the motion, it was ultimately passed. In closing, Dr Cavers thanked Dr Jim Busser, who had provided valued input into the restructuring process despite not being an official committee member.

Report of the Nominating Committee
Dr Cheryle Hume stated that the committee brings new members into Doctors of BC and ensures all committees are populated. The committee reports directly to the Board and at the AGM to all members. The committee ensures balanced, objective, and fair assessments are done for all applications and that they considered 138 applications over the year.

Dr Charles Webb congratulated Dr Hume for doing an exemplary job and thanked her on behalf of the association. Dr Robin Routledge also thanked Dr Hume for her insightful, incisive, and respectful leadership. 

The Nominating Committee recommended Drs Michael Curry, Mark Corbett, and Dr Sanjay Khandelwal be elected to the Audit and Finance Committee, and this was approved by the assembled members.

Report of the Specialists of BC
Dr John Faulkner informed the gathering about the society’s name change last year. He stated that Specialists of BC had established several new committees over the past year and that they are working well. He was happy to report that almost all specialist nominations have been filled as required by the new governance structure. He informed the members about his letter to Dr Ruddiman regarding the GP shortage and echoed the same for the lack of specialists. He expressed urgency in addressing the issue so all patients get optimal care. 

Report of the Society of General Practitioners of BC
Dr Ernie Chang stated that much collaboration had taken place over the last year and that the SGP found ways to work with specialists on common interests. He extended congratulations all around. New SGP billing codes for medical assistance in dying and telemedicine were introduced. Dr Chang extended his special thanks to Drs Jean Clarke, executive director, SGP, and Phil Asquith, economics chair, for their contributions. He said that the SGP would like to be more involved in health care transformation and advocacy and that their 34 members recommended to the RA are now focusing on how best to meet their responsibilities. 

In September 2017, Doctors of BC will transition to its new governance model—a dual structure comprising a nine-member board and a 104-member representative assembly (RA). Dr Trina Larsen Soles was elected president-elect in 2016, and now serves as the association’s president. Ballots for the election of president-elect and key positions on the RA were sent on 26 June and votes must be cast by midnight, 24 July. 

Both the president and president-elect are members of the Board. The RA will select the remaining seven members of the Board at its inaugural meeting in September, along with members-at-large to the Governance and Nominating Committees, and the speaker and deputy speaker of the RA. A call for nominations for these positions will be sent to the general membership toward the end of July. The new structure will not include the officer positions of chair of the general assembly, and honorary secretary treasurer.

Excerpts from remarks made by new Doctors of BC President Trina Larsen Soles in her lunchtime address

When I was a medical student I won a BCMA scholarship. Part of the deal was we attended a Board meeting for an hour and then they gave us a certificate. The Board meeting itself was incredibly boring and the stuff they were discussing sounded so irrelevant, and the room was full of old white guys. They did give us a very nice lunch, though. You may wonder, “How did things evolve to me being so passionate about the association that I wanted to be president?” Sometimes circumstances—such as suddenly being in the centre of job action—provide the incentive and the opportunity to actually do something, which can be quite rewarding, and that ultimately is why I am here today.

With your support, this year I want to: 
–    Improve access for our most vulnerable patients and provide more support for doctors. 
–    Ensure our new governing system is a success.
–    Reclaim our reputation and our position of trust.

Access for patients and support for doctors
We need to improve access, especially for our more vulnerable populations, those in remote areas, and those with mental health issues. There are many examples of roadblocks that create an ineffective system. This is a problem in every corner of the province. We need better system coordination.
. . .

My intent this year is to make Doctors of BC more accessible to its members. The position of president is an access point for doctors in that quest. For the next year, I am the face of the organization and I intend to visit doctors in venues where the organization doesn’t usually go. The stronger we are as an association, the more influence we will have, and the more effectively we can advocate on your behalf. The association has its challenges given how different our physician members are from each other. But I intend to work with the diversity of our membership and lead us on that path toward a stronger association. 

New governance system
The governance of our association is changing. In September we will have transitioned from a 39-member board to a smaller 9-member board accompanied by a larger representative assembly. As an organization our intent is to tear down the walls and break down the silos. We each have our differences that are part of who we are, so let’s find a way to capitalize on those differences. Our diversity should make us stronger.

Let’s build on the great work of the collaborative programs, the divisions of family practice, and our new facility engagement projects. Let’s work together to support our colleagues, our communities, and our patients.

Respect for the profession
My third priority is the value and respect for the profession of medicine. There are lots of negative stories in the news about “hallway medicine,” overprescribing of opioids and the role doctors may have played in this crisis, and doctors battling in the courts over private vs public medicine. We’re losing much of our credibility as one of the most trusted professions, and the assumption that your doctor always has your best interests at heart. The last Ipsos poll I saw had doctors at number six—behind nurses and pharmacists, among other professions.
. . .

What I’m passionate about is bringing to the forefront the interesting, valuable, unique work that doctors around the province are spearheading on behalf of their patients. I want to profile and showcase the amazing work of these doctors. But in order to let people know about the work our physician colleagues are doing around the province, we first need to know about it. Let’s find them. Let’s support them. Let’s make their projects known among the doctors in the province, the patients, and the public.
. . .

I’ll do my best to gain traction with the physician groups that I’m not really a part of. I’m not a specialist, I’m not an urban doctor—but as a generalist physician and your president I am here to represent the entire profession. I don’t for 1 minute take the honor lightly. 
—Trina Larsen Soles, MD

2017 Annual Doctors of BC Awards

Dr David M. Bachop Awards
Dr David Bachop was born in Scotland and graduated from Edinburgh University in 1955. He interned at the Royal Infirmary where he won the Murdoch-Brown Silver Medal in clinical medicine. Dr Bachop practised general medicine in Vancouver from 1956 until his death in 1988. His dedication to patients and the principles of clinical medicine won him the respect of his patients and colleagues. In 1988 the Dr David Bachop Awards Fund was established to honor his memory and to uphold the principles by which he lived his life.

Silver Medal in General Medical Practice: Dr Dylan Falk Dueck
Gold Medal for Distinguished Medical Service: Dr Trina Larsen Soles

Dr Don Rix Award for Physician Leadership 
Dr Donald Rix was the founder and chair of MDS Metro Laboratory Services, now known as LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services. He was a pathologist, philanthropist, community volunteer, and businessman until his death in 2009. The Dr Don Rix Award for Physician Leadership was established in 2010 to recognize exemplary physician leadership and lifetime achievement that is so outstanding that it serves as an inspiration and a challenge to the medical profession in British Columbia.

Dr Don Rix Award for Physician Leadership: Dr Dan MacCarthy

Dr Campbell Joseph Coady Award
Dr Cam Coady was born in Vancouver, educated at Vancouver College and the University of British Columbia, and subsequently graduated in medicine from McGill University in 1949. He became the director of laboratories at the Royal Columbian Hospital in January 1958, where he developed a unique health care delivery program for laboratory medicine in the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia. Dr Coady took a keen interest in professional, hospital, medical, and technical organizations, serving on many committees and advisory bodies. Dr Coady died in May 1988 and the Dr Coady Foundation was established to commemorate his great love of medicine and to ensure that his objectives to achieve excellence in health care continue to be fostered.

Dr Campbell Joseph Coady Award: Dr Bakul Dalal

Doctors of BC Changemaker Awards
Changemaker Awards recognize a Doctors of BC medical resident member and a medical student member who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and dedication to the cause of advancing the policies, views, and goals of Doctors of BC, or of a medical resident/student organization in BC, through grassroots advocacy efforts.

Student Advocate Award: Daphne Lu
Resident Advocate Award: Dr Jesse Kancir

Doctors of BC Excellence in Health Promotion Award
This annual award honors the specific efforts of an individual and a corporate sector group striving to improve the health and wellness of British Columbians through dedicated health promotion activities. In recognizing these efforts, Doctors of BC hopes to encourage and foster health promotion work in the province.

Excellence in Health Promotion Award: Individual
For creating a safe and supportive environment for children, youth, and families struggling with mental health and substance use:

Dr Elizabeth Zubek
Dr Len Hatlelid
Dr Matt Chow
Dr Melodie Prem-Smith
Dr Ursula Luitingh

Excellence in Health Promotion Award: Nonprofit 
For innovation in targeting specific populations:

interCultural Online Health Network (ICON)

Doctors of BC Silver Medal of Service
Established in 1986, the Doctors of BC Silver Medal of Service confers the association’s highest honor. Criteria for the award are long and distinguished service to the association, outstanding contributions to medicine or political involvement in BC or Canada, or outstanding contributions by a layperson to medicine or to the welfare of the people of BC or Canada.

Doctors of BC Silver Medal of Service: 
Dr Geoffrey Appleton
Dr Elizabeth Lund
Dr Jack Taunton

CMA Honorary Membership Awards
Dr Alan Gow
Dr Alan Maberely
Dr Charles Kerr
Dr David Douglas Cochrane
Dr Donald Macritche
Dr Francis Osei-Tutu
Dr Ian Gillespie
Dr James (Jim) Lane
Dr Martha Donnelly
Dr Mary Donlevy
Dr Peter Beresford
Dr Richard Wadge
Dr Robert Cheyne
Dr Roy J. O’Shaughnessy


Ms Suraliwalla is the senior editorial and production coordinator at the BC Medical Journal. This article has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.

Kashmira Suraliwalla. Doctors of BC Annual General Meeting 2017. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 6, July, August, 2017, Page(s) 3328-333 - Beyond Medicine.

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