In this issue

Update from Dr. Lorne Bellan, COS President
The COS Board and staff have been very busy over the last few months pursuing a number of initiatives. Jennifer Brunet-Colvey, our new Executive Director/CEO, has been tremendous in leading our team as we move forward on these new initiatives and continue work on current projects.

Uninsured services: COS has struck an advisory committee to create a reference document on fees for uninsured services. This will not be a guideline but rather a statement of principles on establishing fees for uninsured services and will include an appendix with sample reference ranges. Previous disproportionate charges for premium lenses in Ontario led to a temporary government ban on their use. Multiple governments have contacted us since then suggesting that this type of document would be helpful to avoid similar problems in the future.

Cigarette package warnings: COS is working with Health Canada to create warnings on cigarette packages to stress the link between smoking and macular degeneration. An appropriate visual message is currently being researched.

Corneal transplant regulations: I will be meeting with the head of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to discuss regulations pertaining to corneal transplants now that the federal government has given CBS authority over solid organ transplantation in Canada.

Wait Time Alliance: COS continues to be an active member of the Wait Time Alliance (WTA). This group continues to keep the cross-specialty problem of long wait times in the public eye by issuing press releases and report cards. The Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons recently joined the group. WTA recently received a letter of praise from the Health Council of Canada encouraging it to keep up its work. The feeling amongst WTA members is that it is critical to continue to publicly raise this issue even if there hasn't been any new money for this over the last few years - otherwise governments will be happy to let the whole issue slide off the table. For example, the situation has recently deteriorated in Alberta because of the government's 15% cut back on surgical volumes.

COS presence on EMR working group: Thank you to Dr. Paul Harasymowycz, who has agreed to represent COS on a new Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Electronic Medical Records (EMR) working group. CMA formed this committee because they realized that various provincial government EMR planning committees and Canada Infoway were exclusively planning the regulations about EMR based on the needs of primary care and not looking at the needs of specialists. We were quick to volunteer on this small working group to ensure strong representation for ophthalmology.

Integration of CPGs: Thank you to Dr. Yvonne Buys for suggesting COS contact the Royal College Examining Committee for Ophthalmology in order to incorporate material from the various COS Clinical Practice Guidelines into the Fellowship examination. The Royal College has agreed and we have notified the program directors about this new initiative.

COS representation at AAO: Finally, I represented COS at the recent American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting in San Francisco, October 2009. It was quite an eye opener to hear the discussions between the State representatives and the AAO Board about adversarial relationships between ophthalmology and optometry in the US. I hope that we will continue to have better relationships with our optometry colleagues in Canada, though recent developments make this much less certain.

Recently, in Alberta, the Optometry Association has proposed an overhaul of their regulatory statutes to

  1. allow them to administer all drugs by all routes,
  2. order X-rays, CT, and MRI scans and ultrasounds,
  3. eliminate co-management restrictions for glaucoma and allow them to manage this condition independently, and
  4. to perform minor surgery around the eyes including mass and chalazion excisions and suturing as needed.

COS will be working with the Ophthalmological Society of Alberta to challenge these proposed changes, with the focus on what we perceive to be in patients' best interest.

I look forward to providing progress reports to you on all of these initiatives when we meet at the COS Annual Meeting in Québec City. Au plaisir de vous y revoir en juin!

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Update from Jennifer Brunet-Colvey, COS Executive Director/CEO
Since joining COS on September 21, 2009, I have conducted a number of key informant interviews to gain a better understanding of the current state of the organization and unexploited opportunities for future growth. Some of the major areas of focus are summarized below:

  • More consultation required with our membership: A membership survey is being developed and will be sent to you this spring. We want to hear from you: what you like about COS and, conversely, where we need to improve. One of our key strategic priorities will be to provide greater value and transparency to our membership.
  • Increased continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities for members: Given the geographical vastness of our country, we need to make multiple resources (such as e-learning/web-based learning) for CPD credit available. Increasing the number of codeveloped programs should also be considered a priority for the organization, as well as linking journal content to CPD for credit.
  • Improvements to the Annual Scientific Meeting: It was recommended that, this year, we add a Current Concepts session (bringing the total number to 3) to allow delegates to fully benefit from our speakers' expertise. We also heard that delegates want increased networking opportunities and, with that in mind, we have revamped our annual reception (please see below for more details).
  • Increased advocacy: This, too, will become a stronger focus for COS. Already, Past-President Dr. Sherif El- Defrawy and I met with the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) on January 11, 2010 to outline a proposed plan for eye care services for the province of Ontario. Based on a shared management model that is currently in place in Nova Scotia and Québec, the plan calls for the development of an Ontario Eye Health Council where ophthalmology, optometry, family physicians, and government would collaborate in order to best meet patient needs. This would allow for ongoing dialogue between key stakeholders and would be a model of best practices. Enhanced patient care, improved patient access, improved efficiencies, better utilization of resources, and significant cost savings to the system would result. This model could also be expanded nationally. Thank you to those COS members with whom we consulted in order to prepare for this meeting.
  • Ongoing work on clinical practice guidelines: Postevaluation of the impact of guidelines is an important consideration. To date, we have developed guidelines on vision screening, cataract, glaucoma, and retinoblastoma. We are in the process of developing diabetic retinopathy guidelines. And, as our President Dr. Lorne Bellan mentioned in his report, content from our guidelines will be integrated in upcoming Royal College exams.
  • Supporting residents: Developing a strong residents program to provide support through training and into practice was identified as another key recommendation. See below for more details on our Young Ophthalmologist Program at the COS Annual Meeting this June.
  • Partnership development will be a major focus for COS as we move forward. The COS is grateful to all of its partners for their ongoing generosity and would like to develop partnerships with other key stakeholders in order to increase overall support to the organization.

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated as we work together to take COS to its next level of development. Contact me at [email protected]

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Membership renewal 2010

Membership fees are now due! Any outstanding fees may be remitted by cheque through regular mail or online at eyesite.ca through our secure server for the use of credit cards. You may also contact Rita Afeltra directly at 613-729-6779 Ext. 300 or by email at [email protected].

The 2010 COS Membership Directory will be mailed in early spring.

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CPD events for 2010
A major benefit of COS membership is the opportunity to earn Section 1 CPD credits at COS educational events throughout the year. The COS 2010 Annual Meeting will be an opportunity to earn up to 21 CPD credits. COS also partners with industry to co-develop accredited educational events that meet your learning needs.

COS 2010 Québec City - Synergies
June 26-29, 2010, Centre des congrès, Québec QC

You told us; we listened! We're bringing a new perspective to the 2010 Annual Meeting in Québec City. We've kept track of your evaluation comments over the past few years and we've made changes.

New this year

Saturday start - This scientific program starts on Saturday and runs through Sunday and Monday. Wet labs and workshops are scheduled for Tuesday morning. For your convenience, we've scheduled the bulk of the meeting over the weekend, and we're wrapping things up by noon on Tuesday so that you can go home earlier. View the program-at-a-glance

Wet labs and workshops - These Tuesday morning workshops are a great opportunity for small group, practical, hands-on learning. This year's lineup includes a Cataract lab, Cornea Skills Lab: DALK for the Corneal Surgeon, and Glaucoma New Surgical Technologies. Also, look for an EMR workshop and integrating new technology into your practice. Enrollment is limited; sign up early! Wet labs and workshops

Young Ophthalmologist Program - This program helps new residents transition from training to practice and network with peers. Workshops are tailored for residents and ophthalmologists in their first few years of practice and are endorsed by the COS Residents' committee. Attend the workshops and then join the COS Board for lunch. Monday, June 28, 8:30 am to 1 pm. Young Ophthalmologist Program

COS celebration - We've re-vamped and revved up the COS social event! You won't want to miss La grande fête: a night of good food, great music, and dancing. Bring your family and celebrate Québeçois style! Experience traditional Gallic charm and warm hospitality in the iconic Château Frontenac. Join us for a relaxed gourmet dinner reception featuring local ingredients and cultural flavours. The Painchaud Family will provide an evening of great music, guaranteed to get you up dancing. We've also lowered the ticket price to $100 when you purchase your ticket with registration. Business casual clothing and comfortable shoes are appropriate to ensure maximum enjoyment from the gourmet grazing stations and toe-tapping music! Sunday, June 27, 2010 starting at 7 pm - COS Celebration.

Québec 2010 Synergy: people - eye care - research

ACOP 2010 - Annual Comprehensive Ophthalmology Program
May 1, 2010, Old Mill Inn, Toronto ON

A comprehensive half-day update on topics of interest in ophthalmology, co-developed by COS and Pfizer Canada Inc, through an unrestricted educational grant. Participating delegates will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast recent imaging tools for glaucoma detection and progression, and describe their use in current glaucoma management models.
  • Discuss recent guidelines for diabetes management and review metabolic syndrome.
  • Understand the diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy and the implementation of current technology.

Please contact Inika Anderson, Manager, Continuing Professional Development for comments or questions about CPD activities. 613-729-6779 x223, [email protected].

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Clinical Practice Guidelines: recent updates

Canadian guidelines for retinoblastoma care
The National Retinoblastoma Strategy Canadian Guidelines for Care was published as a supplement to the December 2009 issue of the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. These guidelines were created as a result of a unique partnership between experts in the fields of ophthalmology, oncology, genetics, social work, nursing, and other specialties from across Canada, as well as retinoblastoma (Rb) survivors and their families. Together this group identified shortcomings in the Canadian healthcare system that result in less-than-optimal care being delivered to Rb families, and highlighted a national solution.

Glaucoma guidelines: summary slides
As part of the COS commitment to guideline dissemination, glaucoma guideline slides are available for free download (English only). Each slide kit covers a subsection of the 2009 Canadian Ophthalmological Society evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the management of glaucoma in the adult eye. Each slide is fully referenced.

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National Physician Survey: coming spring 2010!

The next National Physician Survey will be conducted in spring this year. The survey is conducted co-operatively every 3 years by The College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. It reaches out to all physicians in Canada as well as medical residents and medical students for your input on Canadian health human resource issues. The results become a valuable information resource for us all. When you receive the survey this spring, please take a few minutes to respond. Your input is important and greatly appreciated. For more information, including previous survey results, visit National Physician Survey web site.

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Questions and comments: [email protected]