POABC Presidents’ Report September 2020
I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the POABC Board and Committees in serving the membership this past year! As you will note from my report and the reports of our committee chairs, the POABC has had another successful and busy year with many activities and advancing many projects.
Before I highlight some of those activities, I wish again to acknowledge and thank the entire Board of Directors, the committee chairs and their members, Mark Jiles of Bluestone Government Relations and especially Rick Nickelchok of Board Matters for their time and efforts this past year. Here are some but not all what has been worked on:
Enhanced Communications and Governance
- To improve organizational communications between the Board, committees and the membership, POABC has now placed a Board member on every standing committee. We continue to make better use of BaseCamp, Webmail, Mailchimp and Survey Monkey and have and will continue to post meeting minutes and committee updates to the website. The website has undergone a reformat to create better accessibility to committee reports and minutes at the home page to reduce time needed to search through links to find information.
- The POABC held membership wide town hall meetings in April and May to discuss the Covid-19 outbreak and how it has and continues to affect our profession. Members shared stories about hygiene protocols, business decisions, clinical strategies and more. It provided an informal platform for all who attended to feel inclusive and share concerns and it appeared successful in bringing us together as members of the profession.
- The POABC Board and Rick Nickelchok of Board Matters have worked hard to complete the Terms of Reference for each of the seven standing committees at POABC. The goal was to have clearly defined mandates and guidelines for each committee to work from and adhere to. This took several months and is now finally complete. An annual business plan that incorporates POABC strategic initiatives and goals have been completed or initiated for the following committees (Communications, Leadership, Advocacy, 3PR, Executive and Finance).
- POABC launched a formal review of the Facility Group Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goals of improving/updating the MOU and recruiting new Facilities to the MOU partnership. The process included distributing surveys to all members and non-members of the Facility Group in June 2020 to gather information on how it aligns with the POABC and what could be adjusted to make it better integrated. Three Town Hall meetings were held in July and August to discuss the MOU and seek feedback from all the attendees on strategies to revise the document to reflect on the working realities of POABC in 2020. A discussion on the revision will be taking place at a Facility Group meeting, following the Annual General meeting in September.
- POABC and the Board have undertaken a membership review to determine more accurate categories and the fees associated with those memberships. The Board is also looking to the future to see what the membership would like to support in terms of administrative and consultant assistance. The survey results have been distributed to the entire POABC membership and a discussion will take place during the Annual General meeting on September 12th, 2020.
Government Relations and 3rd Party Funder Relations
- A continued development of government relations’ strategy and presentations to promote the profession, association and most importantly, the needs of the patient populations we serve. The focus has been on service limitations, especially regarding adult Orthoses and funding shortfalls for both prosthetics and orthotics with regards to deductibles being too high for the average family to take advantage of. Mark Jiles, our government relations’ consultant, continues to assist us with access to politicians and bureaucrats in Victoria and individual MLAs in their home ridings. The plan continues to be to have a consistent, concise and pertinent message that the coverage provided for British Columbians is below the level of most other provinces. Yvonne Jeffries and Tom McKee have been the face of the POABC Government Relations strategy and have done a superlative job representing you and our profession. Recently, Yvonne presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance in Victoria via zoom in June delivering a powerful message about patient needs being undervalued in BC. There were also meetings with Health and MSDPR opposition MLA Critics to discuss funding shortfalls, which resulted in questions directed at the BC Minister of Health directly asking and highlighting the need to work with the POABC on these issues. There are meetings being sought and planned with the MSDPR this fall.
- To assist with the government relations’ POABC has activated two new standing committees (Data Collection and Advocacy). These were identified in the 2016 strategic plan and are operating now. Data Collection will assist with government lobbying by providing numbers on specific treatments, types of patients seen, outcome measures, etc. Advocacy has already developed strategies to align with other NPOs such as the War Amps, Canadian Diabetes Association and others to promote the role of the profession and foster dialogue to increase awareness of the challenges our patients deal with daily.
- POABC through the PPPR committee, has revised, completed and distributed the 2020 Orthotics and Prosthetics fee guides. The Orthotics guide has been completely overhauled to simplify and harmonize the most common treatments into an easily useable document by both practitioners and paying agencies. Countless volunteer hours have been spent by the Orthotics working group on this document. The Prosthetics guide has also been updated to include a cost of living increase and harmonize the hourly rate to align with the Orthotics guide. They are always available on the POABC website under the documents heading in the members only section.
- POABC through the PPPR committee liaison group and First Nations Health Authority held an informative two hour meeting together this July via zoom which was intended to open communications, answer specific questions about Orthotic and Prosthetic treatment coverage and foster further discussions on a variety of topics including cultural sensitivity. A follow up meeting will be scheduled for this fall.
- POABC and WorkSafe BC have entered into a contract extension through to 2022 for Prosthetic services. This was negotiated in December 2019 by the WorkSafe liaison group of the PPPR committee and signed by all prosthetic contractors in January 2020. A follow up meeting in early July discussed issues and concerns raised by POABC members such as the WorkSafe consultant, dispute resolutions, clinical trials etc. There are still some major outstanding issues such as an Orthotic contract to be discussed and talks will continue between POABC and WorkSafe BC in an effort to resolve these issues.
- POABC, through Deanna Hines and her husband, was able to revive the Girling Calculator app for both iOS and Android formats. This useful app automatically calculates the mark up on any component used in the production of a Prosthesis or Orthosis. They are still available free of charge in the app store on your mobile device.
Finally, I wish to express my appreciation for the support of the Board, the committee chairs and membership during the past two years and through this most challenging time in our profession with COVID-19. Volunteers are the heart and soul of any non-profit organization and we are fortunate to have so many dedicated people serving the POABC in various capacities. Thank you all! I hope you continue to support the new Board and I wish it great success in the future.
Allan Blyt, POABC President