Note: The following guest blog was was written by Dr. Paul Hacker and Dr. Lisa Salamon (pictured above). While the opinions are theirs, I happen to share those opinions as well.
We, the co-chairs of the Ontario Medical Association’s Governance Transformation 2020 Task Force (GT20), welcome discussion and debate about the recommendations for change in our report, Better Together. These recommendations were made in response to the broad input from council delegates, members, board directors, senior OMA leadership and external stakeholders.
Recent reports about these recommendations have, unfortunately, included inaccurate statements leading to erroneous conclusions. The report, including a summaryand FAQ document, is available in the links or on the OMA website (here).
We would like to highlight for OMA members, the changes that we hope to see in 2021 if these recommendations are endorsed at the council meeting this week and receive final approval at Spring council in May 2020.
Members will directly ratify all negotiated Physician Services Agreements (PSAs)
Currently, council has the authority to ratify any negotiated PSA. In the future, this responsibility will rest with you, the member. Contrary to other reports, if these changes are passed, the OMA would introduce a new bylaw requiring member ratification that could not be overruled or ignored by the board of directors.
Fully informed members will directly vote for their president-elect and directors. Currently, members elect a small proportion of directors to the board, based on where you practice; other members and council elect the rest. In the future, members will vote for all directors, informed by a standardized profile generated by an independent third party.
Members are likely aware of their current role regarding the election of the president-elect: participation in a non-binding member poll while council makes the final selection. In the future, you will vote directly to choose your president-elect.
A collaborative general assembly will replace council
Council, governed by outdated parliamentary rules which promote factional disputes, will be replaced by a general assembly that still represents members through section, district and forum delegates, but seeks to work collaboratively to identify the priorities most important to members.
Members will be given new and enhanced opportunities to contribute to time-limited working groups. This ensures that the work of these groups is relevant to you and other members and uses the expertise found within the membership to help guide the OMA.
The OMA will become more nimble, able to respond to emerging issues effectively:
A streamlined governance structure will result in a more agile organization. Members should notice that communications are clearer, the OMA acts more decisively and that it advances solutions that make sense to members.
Both of us became involved with the OMA in 2016/17 because of frustration with the results we, as members, were seeing. As we got more involved, it became clear that the underperformance of the OMA was not due to a lack of effort. The OMA had stagnated under a governance structure that had grown out of date and was no longer responsive to its members. And in 2019, members told us nothing had changed.
We believe that it’s time for an upgrade. We invite and welcome all members to join us in this change.
Dr. Paul Hacker and Dr. Lisa Salamon are the co-chairs of the GT20 Task Force.