78% of OSA physicians asked to replace their OMA Insurance

In our February survey, 78% of OSA physicians asked to replace their OMA Insurance with better quality coverage, cost savingsand insurance that you own and control. As a specialist you are represented by the OSA and can participate in this limited time offer to replace your OMA Insurance.

Specialists are replacing their OMA Insurance for 3 reasons.

  1. Quality – RBC Insurance is owned and controlled by you. These are not group insurance plans and are not tied to the OSA separate representation from the OMA.

  2. Cost – RBC rates and discounts are guaranteed for the life of the policy. In some cases, the cost for disability insurance may be slightly higher but policy provisions are better and the policy is convertible to long term care insurance. In the case of life insurance and critical illness insurance, rates are less with RBC (after OMA rebate).  

  3. Benefits – Policy provisions are fully guaranteed.

Below are the highlights of the quality differences between OMA and RBC Insurance:

Disability insurance

The current OMA group disability plan terminates at age 70 unless you have opted for the 70+ extension. RBC coverage can be maintained to age 100. RBC offers a minimum inflation protector (not available with OMA Insurance), a recovery benefit (not available with OMA Insurance), 12-months protection in case of a reoccurring disability (not available with OMA Insurance) and a long-term care insurance conversion which provides lifetime coverage for home and facility care (OMA offers Encore 65 which provides a maximum of 3 years of home care).  In some cases, the RBC Insurance disability may be more expensive than the OMA, but RBC policy provisions and long-term care conversion option are guaranteed. 

Life insurance

OMA Insurance offers two life insurance products; Group term to 75 and Flex term 10/20 through New York Life. Most physicians with OMA life insurance have Group term to 75 where rates increase every 5 years, policies are not convertible to permanent insurance and up to $2,000,000 is available. At age 65, the OMA Group term 75 life insurance benefit decreases by 10% per year while the rate does not change. At age 75, up to 10% of the original coverage may be paid up. The Flex term 10/20 offers a 10 or 20-year term insurance policy that is convertible to permanent insurance. There is no premium rebate on the Flex term insurance. The RBC YourTermTM 10 is an individual life insurance policy, that is convertible to permanent insurance, rates are guaranteed. In most cases, rates are less than the OMA group term 75 insurance (even after OMA refund).

Critical illness insurance

The OMA Sun life plan offers coverage to age 70 whereas the RBC Insurance policy offers coverage to age 75. In most cases, there is a cost savings to age 70 with RBC Insurance. The RBC Insurance policy is convertible to long term care coverage, your policy provisions are guaranteed, and you own and control your insurance. With respect to the definitions, RBC covers early assist illness including prostate, breast, skin blood, intestinal and thyroid cancer as well as coronary angioplasty. None of these early assist illnesses are covered with an early assist benefit with Sun life OMA insurance. The payment of an early assist benefit does not reduce the critical illness benefit in the RBC policy. 

This limited time offer is available until May 2019.
Should you wish to apply, please complete the RBC Insurance application, scan and email these to info@osainsurance.com. Should you have any questions, call the OSA Insurance representatives at 416‐222‐1311, 1‐877‐314‐1311 or email at info@osainsurance.com.

OSA Statement Regarding Binding Arbitration Award

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The Board of Directors of the Ontario Specialists Association (OSA) acknowledges the decision of the board of arbitration released earlier this week concerning phase one issues between the Ontario Medical Association and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ministry).

The award validates the OSA’s position on several fundamental issues including the inherent unfairness of the across-the-board fee cuts imposed unilaterally by the previous government and the unreasonableness of the Ministry’s proposals to place a hard cap on the physician services budget and impose additional fee cuts on targeted specialists.

“The award is a reflection of the concerns that specialists have advanced for years, including most recently under the umbrella of the OSA,” said OSA Chair Dr. David Jacobs.  “While there is clearly more work to do, the award is a good start,” he continued.  

OSA Board member Dr. James Swan agreed.  “What is encouraging is that the provincial government is now willing to work collaboratively with physicians going forward to address issues and improve the health care system.  It is incumbent on organizations like ours, on behalf of all patients, to take it up on its offer.”

The OSA is particularly heartened by the arbitration board’s statement on the contentious issue of physician income relativity.  On page 20 of the decision, the board states regarding years 3 and 4 of the award, “…we believe it is appropriate for us to indicate that, at this time, we would not be inclined as a board of arbitration to direct that the fees or compensation paid to some groups should be reduced, in order to increase the fees or compensation paid to other groups, whether on relativity grounds or otherwise.”

The OSA formed in November 2018 and is composed of more than 3,000 leading medical and surgical specialists in Ontario providing leading edge care to the most acutely ill patients in the health care system.

For more information about the OSA, visit:  www.specialistsontario.com.

OSA’s OMA Insurance Replacement Program - Update

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Last week you received a package on the OSA’s OMA Insurance Replacement Program. The OSA represents the interests and advocates on behalf of the Ontario Specialists. The OSA currently represents 8 specialty groups that voted to leave the OMA in November 2018. Below are some details on the OMA Insurance Replacement Program.

The OSA’s OMA Insurance Replacement Program allows OSA members to replace their OMA life, disability, critical illness and office overhead insurance with no medical and a simplified application with RBC Insurance. RBC Insurance will replace your (and your spouse/partner’s) OMA Insurance with identical insurance amounts and options where applicable.

  • Life Insurance – Replace up to $5,000,000 of OMA life insurance.

  • Disability Insurance – Replace up to $25,000 per month of OMA disability insurance.

  • Critical Illness Insurance – Replace up to $350,000 of OMA critical illness insurance.

  • Office Overhead Insurance – Replace up to $30,000 per month of OMA office overhead insurance.

  • The insurer is RBC Life Insurance Company.

  • Discounted rates for disability, office overhead and critical illness insurance.

  • Rates for life insurance are less than OMA Group term 75 insurance (even after OMA rebate).

  • NO medical tests (blood or urine) required.

  • NO detailed medical questions.

  • NO minimum number of participants required.

  • Policies are individually owned and controlled by you.

  • Guaranteed policy provisions.

 Offer expires Friday May 17, 2019.

Below are the most common questions we received last week…

Why did the OSA launch this program now?

Insurance has been a primary concern specifically, the insurance controlled by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA Insurance). The OMA has made it clear in their communications that they are attempting to hold OSA members hostage with their insurance. In February, we surveyed members. 72% have OMA Insurance and 78% want to replace their OMA insurance with better quality coverage, potential cost savings and physicians want to own and control their insurance.

Is my insurance tied to the OSA ratifying separate representation and de‐Randing?

NO. Once RBC issues a policy under our program, your OSA insurance cannot be cancelled or changed irrespective of the status of OSA ratification. The OSA recognised that there was a strong need to have an immediate and superior insurance portfolio of key products to what the OMA offers while it launched its discussions to obtain Ontario government recognition for OSA self‐determination. Your decision to move to the OSA insurance program, assuming it meets your needs, will be seen as further evidence that you no longer wish to be represented by the OMA. There is a deadline to the OSA insurance program that strongly suggests you should determine if it is more advantageous. If it is, your improved insurance coverage will be in place because the OSA negotiated an independent program that is not tied to any membership but rather driven by our commitment to provide value and remove obstacles that prevent you from leaving the OMA as so many of you have made clear.

When will I get my new insurance policy?

RBC has started underwriting policies and will be issuing insurance policies March 1, 2019.

Is my insurance guaranteed?

YES. Rates and policy provisions are fully guaranteed. Unlike the OMA Insurance, neither the insurance company (RBC Insurance) nor the Association (the OSA) can cancel or change your insurance. The offer to move coverage to RBC is available until May 17, 2019.

Will the OSA have a health and dental plan?

Yes. We plan on launching this in the late spring 2019 along with travel, office contents and cyber insurance.

The OSA insurance representative, Levine Financial Group will contact you to answer questions and help OSA members replace their OMA Insurance. Complete details are on the OSA Insurance website www.OSAInsurance.com. Should you wish to apply, please complete the RBC Insurance application, scan and email these to info@osainsurance.com. Should you have any questions, call the OSA Insurance representatives at 416‐222‐1311, 1‐877‐314‐1311 or email at info@osainsurance.com.

Sincerely,

OSA Board of Directors

Dr. David Jacobs, Dr. Joseph Noora, Dr. James Swan, Dr. Mark Prieditis, Dr. Baseer Khan, Dr. Michael Gould, Dr. Jordan Weinstein, Dr. Aditya Bharatha, Dr. Chritopher O’Brien

OSA Communique - 2019 - A Year OF Change For Ontario Physicians

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 Summary of OSA Activities Occurring in December 2018

  • OSA Board meets weekly in person and/or via teleconference discussing and deciding key matters of importance to OSA specialists

  • Meeting being scheduled with Health Minister Christine Elliott re: OSA separate representation

  • OSA Governance Sub-Committee struck to create a transparent organisation that represents OSA members equally and respects minority rights of small specialists

  • Several OSA Board resolutions passed unanimously include: 

    • Ensuring each OSA specialty is represented on OSA Board

    • De-Randing for all OSA members

    • Approval of RBC’s OSA life/disability/critical illness insurance program to replace OMA’s

    • Releasing RFP for other ancillary insurance and financial services

    • Affirmation on key positions re BA, separate representation and de-Randing (below)

  • Creation of OSA organisational structure to initiate engagement of senior legal negotiators, corporate lawyers, economic advisors/analysts and OSA CEO/staff, etc.

  • Strategic alliance with Canada’s largest financial institution to meet critically needed insurance services

  • February 1-2019 roll-out of the OSA RBC life/disability/critical illness/business overhead replacement program to facilitate specialists transferring from OMA programs on a competitive to significantly less expensive on a package basis avoiding rebates

  • Individual physician ownership of your insurance plans without risk of losing important coverage irrespective of your membership status

  • January 2019 RFP be issued to leading insurers seeking more competitively priced health, medical, travel, dental, wealth management, private banking, leasing and other commonly required financial services

  • Pending review and approval of other RBC no medical life/disability/critical illness/long-term care insurance coverage for specialists, spouses, etc. beyond the Phase 1 OMA replacement program

  • Review of other non-financial services needed by OSA members

  • Deployment of government relations program introducing OSA to legislators and MOH officials

  • Ongoing communications to keep OSA specialists and other Ontario specialists abreast of developments

  • Maintaining a respectful relationship position with the OMA during and after the formation of the new OSA organisation to optimise the overall bargaining position and profile of all Ontario physicians with the request that it will be reciprocated (see position on interim OMA membership reminder in this communiqué).

  • Affirmation that OSA will outsource for the best available expertise to avoid creation of an expensive bureaucracy and other overheads to control cost of voluntary OSA membership fees

OSA Positions on Binding Arbitration, Separate Representation and De-Randing

The formation of the Ontario Specialists Association is well under way.  There has been a tremendous amount of good will as OSA specialists firmly endorse it as their legitimate representative to negotiate on their behalf. Other supportive specialists have contacted the OSA about joining.

This kind of success entails change, and we all know change brings uncertainty and fear. The OSA change is no different with many comments and statements being made since the successful referendum.  While most comments are accurate, there have been some that have confused the purpose and position of the OSA.  An example is the unwillingness to recognise that the OSA now represents ~20% of Ontario’s specialists after only 3 months since its inception.

Why was the OSA formed?

  1. There continues to be serious governance problems at the OMA and an intractability to appropriately and equitably represent minority interests.  Despite several efforts, the expected changes have not materialised following the overwhelming rejection of the OMA’s 2016 tPSA proposal.  These include the failure to ensure wide ranging OMA governance reform and the execution of an impartial forensic audit.

  2. The OMA’s untested relativity model is widely recognised as being irretrievably flawed.  Instead of quickly fixing a recognised problem it has instead created the conditions that have set section against section to the benefit of the MOH.  The failure to manage this crisis has been worsened by a series of flip-flops.  Efforts to find a better way like the proven American RVU approach have been rebuffed without material explanation.

  3. The needs of family physicians and specialists have changed significantly such that no one organisation can reasonably meet their different interests and requirements.  This is a fact of how medicine has evolved, and our organisational capability has not kept pace.  It was not a surprise that an OSA would emerge.  It is important now that both the OMA and the OSA mutually respect the existence of each other, as we have pledged, in order to meet the quite different needs of our respective physician members.

What is the purpose of the OSA?

  1. To create an organisation that has a transparent, accountable and ethical governance structure that fairly and equitably represents the unique needs of specialist physicians irrespective of their size and area of medicine, while advancing the health care needs of their patients in a manner that has been overlooked far too long.

  2. To negotiate with the Ontario government in a results-oriented and commonly aligned manner that is premised on ensuring meaningful change and improvement for our patients while ensuring respect for Ontario specialists.  To repair the damage that has occurred to specialists over the last decade in an environment of trust recognising that it will take time to accomplish what both sides seek.

  3. To obtain separate representation now to ensure that the OSA is the sole representative of those member specialties in a separate negotiation.  This requires legislative change to the Representational Rights Act.  We do not seek to interfere with the rights of the OMA to represent those physicians who freely elect to remain with the OMA.

  4. To end the application of mandatory OMA membership by ending the randing of doctors who are members of the OSA via a legislative change in the Ontario Medical Association Dues Act.  It is the business of other physicians who are members of the OMA to decide what they believe is best for them and the OMA with respect to Rand membership.

  5. The OSA has written to both the Ontario Health Minister and the Arbitrator and specifically asked that the OSA’s involvement in the OMA binding arbitration process be paused until the legislative changes to the Rep Rights Act and the OMA Dues Act are amended in the Ontario legislature. We have not in any way abandoned BA rights for OSA members.  Likewise, we have not sought to interfere with the OMA’s involvement in the current binding arbitration process as has been incorrectly suggested.

  6. Our priority it to secure legislative change to make the OSA the recognised negotiation entity for OSA specialists only and to ensure that separate negotiation representation, a separate binding arbitration process and de-randing rights be accorded to the OSA that recognises the uniqueness of our collective specialty care services to patients.

  7. To negotiate a fair agreement with the Ontario government and to retain all of the other attributes and protections that have previously been negotiated for all doctors, including current and future OSA members. This includes binding arbitration rights as a cornerstone element to ensure fairness and equity between Ontario specialists and the Ontario government when needed.

 OSA Receives Reply Letter From Ontario Health Minister

 The OSA has received a response from the Health Minister this week recognising the emergence of the OSA and has committed to meeting in January to discuss our representation request and need for self-determination.  The important building block work of the OSA Board continues. 

Questions Re 2019 OMA Membership Renewal Notices

OSA specialists are receiving 2019 OMA membership renewal forms and have sought our advice regarding whether they should renew in view of the recent successful endorsement of self-determination by eight (8) specialist sections representing over 3,000 doctors. Our advice is that members should continue to protect their interests by renewing OMA membership on a monthly basis only.  This will permit OSA members to end OMA membership once separate representation and negotiation rights have been recognised by the Ontario government.  There may be other reasons why some specialists may need to maintain OMA membership.  The most notable reason is their OMA insurance if it is determined that their age or health status makes that a relevant factor. 

If you have further questions, please email them to the OSA at info@specialistsontario.com

OSA Positions on Binding Arbitration, Separate Representation and De-Randing

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December 14, 2018

The formation of the Ontario Specialists Association is well under way.  There has been a tremendous amount of good will as OSA specialists firmly endorse it as their legitimate representative to negotiate on their behalf.  Other supportive specialists have contacted the OSA about joining.

This kind of success entails change, and we all know change brings uncertainty and concern. The OSA change is no different and many comments have been made since the successful referendum.  While most comments are accurate, there have been some that have confused the purpose and position of the OSA.  An example is the resistance to recognise that the OSA now represents ~20% of Ontario’s specialists after only 3 months since its inception.

Why was the OSA formed?

  1. There continues to be serious governance problems at the OMA and an intractability to ensure appropriate and equitable represent minority interests.  Despite several efforts, the expected changes have not materialised following the overwhelming rejection of the 2016 tPSA.  These include the failure to ensure wide ranging OMA governance reform and the execution of an impartial forensic audit.

  2. The OMA’s untested relativity model is widely recognised as being irretrievably flawed.  Instead of quickly fixing a recognised problem it has instead created the conditions that have set section against section to the benefit of the MOH.  The failure to manage this crisis has been worsened by a series of last-minute flip-flops.  Efforts to find a better way like the proven American RVU approach have been rebuffed without material explanation.

  3. The needs of family physicians and specialists have changed significantly such that no one organisation can reasonably meet their different interests and requirements.  Medicine has evolved, but our provincial organisation has not kept pace.  It was no surprise that an OSA would eventually emerge.  Now that that has happened, it is important for both the OMA and the OSA to mutually respect the existence of each other, as we have pledged, in order to meet the quite different needs of our respective physician members.

What is the purpose of the OSA?

  1. To create an organisation that has a transparent, accountable and ethical governance structure that fairly and equitably represents the unique needs of specialist physicians irrespective of their size and area of medicine, while advancing the health care needs of their patients.

  2. To negotiate with the Ontario government in a results-oriented and commonly aligned manner that is premised on ensuring meaningful change and improvement for our patients while ensuring respect for Ontario specialists.  To repair the damage that has occurred to specialists over the last decade in an environment of trust recognising that it will take time to accomplish what both sides seek.

  3. To obtain separate representation now to ensure that the OSA is the sole representative for the 8-member specialties and who can conduct separate negotiations with government.  This requires legislative change to the Representational Rights Act to obtain the above-noted requirement.  We do not seek to interfere with the rights of the OMA to represent those physicians who have freely elected to remain with the OMA.

  4. To end the application of mandatory OMA membership by abolishing the Randing of doctors who are members of the OSA via a legislative change in the Ontario Medical Association Dues Act.  Other physicians who remain as OMA members can decide whether Randed or voluntary membership is best for them.

  5. The OSA has written to both the Ontario Health Minister and the Arbitrator and specifically asked that the OSA’s involvement in the OMA binding arbitration process be paused until the legislative changes to the Rep Rights Act and the OMA Dues Act are amended in the Ontario legislature. We have not in any way abandoned BA rights for OSA members.  Likewise, we have not sought to interfere with the OMA’s involvement in the current binding arbitration process as has been incorrectly suggested.

  6. To negotiate a fair agreement with the Ontario government and to retain all of the other attributes and protections that have previously been negotiated for all doctors, including current and future OSA members. This includes binding arbitration rights as a cornerstone element to ensure fairness and equity between Ontario specialists and the Ontario government when needed.

OSA Receives Reply Letter From Ontario Health Minister

The OSA has received a response from the Health Minister this week recognising the emergence of the OSA and has committed to an early meeting to discuss our representation request and need for self-determination.  The important building block work of the OSA Board continues.

Health Minister Invites OSA to Discuss Representation

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The Board of Directors of the Ontario Specialists Association looks forward to working collaboratively with the Ontario government to create solutions that put patients first.

Ontario patients need their doctors to collaborate with the Government, not create roadblocks.  The OSA welcomes Health Minister Christine Elliott’s letter inviting OSA specialists  to meet in the near future to discuss representation issues of importance to OSA members.

The Ontario Specialists Association is a recently formed entity composed of over 3,000 leading medical and surgical specialists in Ontario providing leading edge care to the most acutely ill patients in the health care system. The OSA was formally endorsed by eight (8) major specialties who voted stronglyin favour in a recent referendum to have a dedicated organisation to negotiate with the Ontario government regarding the unique services that OSA specialists provide to meet the important needs of millions of Ontario patients.  The OSA is composed of Cardiac Surgeons, Cardiologists, Diagnostic Radiologists, Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Gastroenterologists, Nephrologists, Neuroradiologists, and Nuclear Medicine physicians.

Ontario Specialist Groups Vote Overwhelmingly to Leave the OMA

Historic Accomplishment Reached as Doctors Express Need for Separate Representation   Several major Ontario specialists participated in the historic Ontario Specialists Association referendum voting from 63.4% to as high as 95.9% in favour of withdrawing from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) sending an unmistakable message. The eight (8) major specialist groups want the new OSA organisation to negotiate directly with the Ontario government for the purpose of ending years of failure for both Ontario specialists as well as the patients they serve. The significance of the referendum results conveys an untenable amount of discontent underscoring the need for the Ontario government to make urgently needed changes as recommended by the OSA.  Voting results by specialty in favour of seceding from the OMA include:   Cardiac Surgery 78.6%    Cardiology 84.7%    Diagnostic Imaging 90.5%    Ophthalmology (EPSO) 90.0%    Gastroenterology 78.1%    Nephrology 63.4%    Neuroradiology 95.9%    Nuclear Medicine 76.7%   In the barely three months since the Ontario Specialists Association was formed, several actions have taken place including the formation of a Board of Directors and the creation of a Charter of Principles and Governance Mandate to set a new course for more representative negotiations between government and the Ontario medical specialists who deal with many of the sickest and most complex patients across the province.  As its first official activity subsequent to the tallying of the referendum results, the OSA Board convened to discuss and ratify the voting by their respective Sections. The next step is to arrange a meeting with senior representatives of the Ontario government to share the referendum findings and to provide them the evidence they needed to confidently recognise that specialists require a unique organisation to negotiate with government. This includes seeking government agreement to amend the Representation Rights Act and the Medical Dues Act which currently restrict the Ontario government to only negotiate with the OMA and to make it compulsory for all physicians to be a member of the OMA. Voluntary membership is a critical element of the OSA.  The referendum was independently managed and certified by Simply Voting, an experienced company in conducting elections, referendums and plebiscites. Voting in the OSA referendum was organised for each participating specialty section. Voting occurred from Sunday, November 25that 12:00AM to Tuesday, November 27 at 11:59PM.  In total, slightly more than 7,000 specialists were entitled to vote with a significantly high 54.4% turnout. Anaesthesiology and Emergency Medicine members elected, by a majority vote, to stay with the OMA. The diverse physician composition of these particular sections makes these results not entirely unexpected. Some other specialty sections resulted in tightly contested outcomes that did not achieve the OSA target at this time.  The OSA respectfully recognises the democratic wishes of those sections that wish to remain within the OMA, or where the referendum resulted in tight races, or those specialist sections that need time to ponder the significant degree of discontent within their own section towards the OMA.   The OSA looks forward to other specialty sections joining the OSA in the near future.   For more information, visit  www.specialistsontario.com  . To speak with OSA Board Chair, Dr. David Jacobs  Contact: info@specialistsontario.com   Ontario Specialists Association    Referendum Question    Be it resolved that the [________] Section of the OMA should withdraw from the OMA and join the OSA to permit the OSA to negotiate directly with the Ontario government on behalf of the section.    Attached is an article published earlier this week by former ER Section Chair, Dr. Myron Haluk.

Historic Accomplishment Reached as Doctors Express Need for Separate Representation

Several major Ontario specialists participated in the historic Ontario Specialists Association referendum voting from 63.4% to as high as 95.9% in favour of withdrawing from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) sending an unmistakable message. The eight (8) major specialist groups want the new OSA organisation to negotiate directly with the Ontario government for the purpose of ending years of failure for both Ontario specialists as well as the patients they serve. The significance of the referendum results conveys an untenable amount of discontent underscoring the need for the Ontario government to make urgently needed changes as recommended by the OSA.

Voting results by specialty in favour of seceding from the OMA include:

Cardiac Surgery 78.6%

Cardiology 84.7%

Diagnostic Imaging 90.5%

Ophthalmology (EPSO) 90.0%

Gastroenterology 78.1%

Nephrology 63.4%

Neuroradiology 95.9%

Nuclear Medicine 76.7%

In the barely three months since the Ontario Specialists Association was formed, several actions have taken place including the formation of a Board of Directors and the creation of a Charter of Principles and Governance Mandate to set a new course for more representative negotiations between government and the Ontario medical specialists who deal with many of the sickest and most complex patients across the province.

As its first official activity subsequent to the tallying of the referendum results, the OSA Board convened to discuss and ratify the voting by their respective Sections. The next step is to arrange a meeting with senior representatives of the Ontario government to share the referendum findings and to provide them the evidence they needed to confidently recognise that specialists require a unique organisation to negotiate with government. This includes seeking government agreement to amend the Representation Rights Act and the Medical Dues Act which currently restrict the Ontario government to only negotiate with the OMA and to make it compulsory for all physicians to be a member of the OMA. Voluntary membership is a critical element of the OSA.

The referendum was independently managed and certified by Simply Voting, an experienced company in conducting elections, referendums and plebiscites. Voting in the OSA referendum was organised for each participating specialty section. Voting occurred from Sunday, November 25that 12:00AM to Tuesday, November 27 at 11:59PM.

In total, slightly more than 7,000 specialists were entitled to vote with a significantly high 54.4% turnout. Anaesthesiology and Emergency Medicine members elected, by a majority vote, to stay with the OMA. The diverse physician composition of these particular sections makes these results not entirely unexpected. Some other specialty sections resulted in tightly contested outcomes that did not achieve the OSA target at this time.

The OSA respectfully recognises the democratic wishes of those sections that wish to remain within the OMA, or where the referendum resulted in tight races, or those specialist sections that need time to ponder the significant degree of discontent within their own section towards the OMA.

The OSA looks forward to other specialty sections joining the OSA in the near future.

For more information, visit www.specialistsontario.com . To speak with OSA Board Chair, Dr. David Jacobs

Contact: info@specialistsontario.com

Ontario Specialists Association

Referendum Question

Be it resolved that the [________] Section of the OMA should withdraw from the OMA and join the OSA to permit the OSA to negotiate directly with the Ontario government on behalf of the section.

Attached is an article published earlier this week by former ER Section Chair, Dr. Myron Haluk.

OSA Referendum Reminder for Specialists

November 21, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

This weekend many of you will be voting in the historic referendum to join the Ontario Specialists Association (OSA), a voluntary membership organisation (no Randing) that is dedicated to negotiating on behalf of Ontario specialists.Ontario’s new government is committed to respecting our democratic rights to choose our representation.  This is an unprecedented opportunity.

There has been a great deal of rumour surrounding the vote - much of this has been fueled by the OMA.  Section Chairs have been hindered in their efforts to communicate directly with their members. The OMA's own Representation Rights Agreement also makes it impossible for the Government to have any formal talks until after the referendum vote. Even with the handcuffs placed on government, they have signalled they will respect our choice in this vote.

If you are a specialist and dissatisfied about how the OMA has addressed your specialty’s needs over many years, this is your opportunity to be represented by a specialist organisation that will make a difference.  It is time for a change.  Specialists and their patients deserve better.  A strong vote will send a message that will be heard at Queen’s Park.

The Representation Rights Agreement protects the OMA's hegemony over doctors in Ontario and undermines what any reasonable person would believe is central to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly the freedom of association. In order for the Ontario Government to begin formal talks with the OSA, we must clearly state our desire for separate representation in the form of a referendum. 

The Government's position about recognising the OSA is outlined in the attached Medical Post article. The Government official cannot be named due to risk of violating the Representation Rights Agreements which binds you to the OMA. 

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This position is clearly stated by the Government official. 

“Physicians should have the full right to determine who represents them,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record. “Until the vote happens, we’re not going to have any conversations that are outside the existing legal framework, but if the vote shows a large section of them are unhappy with the OMA we’re prepared to begin having that conversation.”

The vote to join the OSA will run from Sunday, November 25th through to Tuesday, November 27th. Please check your various email filters for your electronic ballot and vote YES to the OSA!

 This is an historic opportunity to finally improve the way we are represented and more importantly the way we are able to treat the people of Ontario. If you have notreceived an email from Simply Voting (the independent company holding the referendum voting for the OSA) by early Sunday morning, send an email with your name, your specialty and personal email address to:      info@specialistsontario.com    We will be in contact shortly. 

Remember, whether you are or are not a specialist member of the OMA, you are entitled to vote in the OSA referendum.  Make your vote count!

David Jacobs M.D. 

Chair, OSA Board

Official says Ontario’s government will respect the results of the specialists referendum

Specialists will be participating in a referendum to leave the OMA and form their own specialist association Sunday Nov 25 to Monday 27th. The Premier's Office will respect the results.

Toronto – A senior government source closely involved with negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association has told the Medical Post that the Progressive Conservative government intends to respect the results of the upcoming specialist referendum.

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In that referendum, thousands of Ontario’s specialists are expected vote on whether they want to leave the association and join the newly formed Ontario Specialists Association (OSA).

“Physicians should have the full right to determine who represents them,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record. “Until the vote happens, we’re not going to have any conversations that are outside the existing legal framework, but if the vote shows a large section of them are unhappy with the OMA we’re prepared to begin having that conversation.”

The “existing legal framework” is a reference to the representation rights agreement which makes the OMA the sole bargaining agent for all of the province’s doctors. But the source said that if the vote shows “a critical mass” of doctors wish to leave the OMA, then they would be open to amending existing laws to allow them to do so.


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Updated FAQ & About OSA

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Will the Ontario government extend binding arbitration to the OSA?

  • Yes, according to informal discussions that have occurred at senior levels with the Ontario government. Binding arbitration (BA) has been recognised as an integral element of a relationship between the OSA and the Ontario government.  The OSA stated at the inception of these discussions that BA was a mandatory requirement to assure specialists that it would permit the kind of balanced negotiating environment that was previously lacking when a hostile government and MOH unilaterally made changes that marginalised specialists.  A strong referendum result for the OSA will further ensure that BA and the many other important facets (e.g. CMPA, etc.) associated with negotiations are granted to OSA members.  The OSA has communicated that anything less will undermine their strong desire to work with Ontario specialists to fix the problems created over the last 15 years.

  •  BA is clearly an important issue to all doctors.  There are other elements in previous OMA deals such as CMPA, maternity benefits, HOCC and other matters that have been addressed as requirements. No objections have been raised since they already exist for specialists in the current OMA framework.  Following a positive Referendum vote outcome, the OSA Board of Directors plan to meet with the Premier’s office to discuss several key matters including representation rights, removal of RAND for OSA specialists and Binding Arbitration rights.  The above issues are widely seen to be essential elements for an OSA agreement with government.  We sincerely believe the government shares that same view. 

  • A separate statement clarifying our intentions will be issued immediately following the referendum.  This will include striking an OSA negotiation committee, identification of section priorities and engaging government to address pressing issues. We can state unequivocally that the first order of business will be to confirm BA as a fixed point essential to all future negotiations.

 What Physician groups are Voting to join the OSA?

  •  The following 15 sections have expressed an interest in conducting a referendum for its members to withdraw from the OMA and join the OSA:

  • Cardiac Surgery o  Cardiology o  Dermatology o  Diagnostic Imaging o  Emergency Medicine o  Eye Physicians/Surgeons of Ontario  o  Gastroenterology o  Nephrology o  Neuroradiology o  Nuclear Medicine o  Occupational Medicine o  Otolaryngology o  Plastic Surgery o  Vascular Surgery

What if only a few sections withdraw from the OMA and join the OSA?

  • Already 15 separate groups of specialty groups representing thousands of specialists have indicated strong interest in the concept of an OSA.  The OSA Board feels it has already achieved critical mass support in an incredibly short period of time.  Once the results of the referendum are tabulated, the OSA Board of Directors will reaffirm that there is enough support for the organization to proceed with its mandate.

  • We expect that other specialty sections that have decided not to participate in this referendum will re-consider and will likely seek an opportunity to participate in the future.  The OSA Board understands and respectfully accepts that there are different views and that some sections are adopting a wait and see approach.

What if an individual specialist chooses to remain in the OMA but the majority of members of his/her section chooses to join the OSA?

  • If a section votes by a majority of 50.1% of its voting members to withdraw from the OMA, then that section’s members will be represented by the OSA in fee negotiations with the provincial government.  At the individual level, specialist physicians may choose to remain with the OMA even if the majority of their section has chosen to withdraw and join the OSA.  The OMA will notbe able to negotiate fees for them.  That will be done by the OSA working in conjunction with all OSA section members.

 Are family practice/general practice physicians welcome to join the OSA?

  • The OSA was created to represent the interests and needs of medical, surgical and diagnostic specialists and their patients in negotiations with the provincial government. We believe the OMA is best suited to represent family and general practice physicians unless they elect to choose a different organisation.  Since some specialist sections have general practitioners as primary members of their specialty, the OSA Board has already recognised that the decision for their continued involvement will be determined by those relevant sections.

 If a section decides to withdraw from the OMA, are its members still forced to pay OMA dues (i.e. subject to the RAND formula)?

  • No.  It is expected that the government will repeal both the Representation Rights Agreement Actand the OMA Dues Actfor specialist sections that have voluntarily decided by a majority vote to leave the OMA. This would then allow the government to recognize the OSA as the body that negotiates fees for its members.  Membership in the OSA is purely on a voluntary basis to better focus the attention of the OSA to respond to members’ needs and priorities.  There will be no RANDing of Ontario specialists in the OSA.

 How Much Will It Cost to Join the OSA?

·       Membership in the OSA is voluntary (i.e. there is no RAND formula).  The annual fees for OSA membership have yet to be established by the OSA Board of Directors that represents all of its members.  They are expected to cost less than what OMA members currently pay because the OSA’s mandate is focused on negotiation and fee matters.  The OSA will not have a large bureaucracy favouring instead certain key resources e.g. cost accounting for fee setting, economic analysis, negotiation experts, and strategic legal advice.

Is it not advantageous to government to divide and conquer Ontario physicians in negotiations?

  • NO. The new government recognises the need to work with specialists to fix major problems produced by divide and conquer and shame and blame tactics.  OSA representatives have had several interactions with the new provincial government.  In each circumstance, they have acknowledged the value medical specialists bring to the health care system and indicated a desire to work in partnership with us to achieve objectives based on quality and the long-term financial sustainability of the health care system.  The OSA is confident that it can deliver better results for its members and their patients by negotiating directly with government, outside of the OMA.

 Insurance FAQs

Will I be Able to Convert my OMA Insurance Coverage to the OSA?

The OSA’s insurance advisor is finalizing an offer that will allow OSA specialists to replace their life, disability and critical illness in a simple process. All policies will be individually owned with policy provisions that are locked in and guaranteed. An OSA Insurance website will be set up very shortly with complete details.  Below is a brief overview. Complete details will follow when the offer is finalized shortly.

 Will the OSA be Able to Control my Insurance Coverage in the Same Way as the OMA?

NO. Unlike the OMA insurance which is controlled by the OMA, the OSA insurance will be individually owned insurance that you own and control. 

Life insurance

The OMA offers a Group term plus to age 75 and Group flex term 10/20. The OMA plan is group insurance. The OSA insurance will be individually owned insurance that you own and control. OSA policies will have guarantees on cost and quality and policies will include an option to convert to permanent insurance. In most cases rates will be less expensive than the OMA group term plus 75 (even after OMA rebate).

 Disability and office overhead insurance

The OMA disability insurance is group insurance. The OSA insurance will be individually owned insurance that you own and control. OSA rates in some cases may be more expensive than the OMA disability insurance, however definitions are more extensive from a quality and benefits perspective.

Critical illness insurance

OMA critical illness is offered through Sun life. The OSA plan will have similar definitions and cover up to 25 critical illnesses. The primary difference is cost; the OMA Sun life plan is more expensive than the offering through the OSA.

If I have OMA coverage on my spouse/partner, will they be eligible to replace their coverage too?

YES

Will this insurance be group life insurance?

NO. The OSA offering is individual insurance where you own and control the policy.

 Will I be able to I cancel my insurance if I no longer want it?

YES 

 Will the coverage be portable?

YES

What is the Ontario Specialists Association?

The Ontario Specialists Association (OSA) is a recently formed entity to represent the interests of Ontario specialists in contract negotiations with the new Ontario government.  It is also an advocacy organization for specialty medical care providers and their patients.

Why is the OSA Needed?

The OSA is needed because the interests of specialist physicians in contract negotiations with the Ontario government have not been represented for well over a decade.  That is evident by way of no increases; specific and across-the-board fee decreases; no new fee codes to the OHIP schedule in the past decade; no successful contractual negotiations; and divisive discussion about relativity that has weakened our collective ability to challenge MOH belligerence at negotiations. The time has come for specialists, who have unique needs and perspectives on how specialty care should be funded and delivered in the province, to be represented by an independent organization composed and governed exclusively by specialist physicians.  We need different legal and other professional advisors who will take fresh approaches to regain the momentum of leading negotiations rather becoming victims of them.

Who can join the OSA?

A referendum will be held by current OMA sections to determine interest in joining the OSA.  To become a member, support of 50.1% of the voting members of a current OMA medical/surgical section must be achieved.  A section may withdraw from the OSA on the same basis.

Will OSA members be required to pay membership dues to the organization?

OSA members will not be subject to the RAND formula.  The organization is premised on a voluntary membership-funded basis with reasonable dues set annually by the OSA Board.

While specialists who choose not to become members of the OSA will not be forced to pay dues to the OSA, only those specialists who pay OSA dues as members will have membership rights, including the right to vote in board elections, to vote for/against a proposed PSA, to participate on OSA committees.  The OSA is guided by a bottom-up approach designed to fairly enhance the needs of its members, not the corporate interests of the organisation.  This is believed to be the best way to align interests constructively.

What happens if an OSA member section is unable to pay its fair share for running the organization? 

The intent of the OSA bottom-up approach is to demonstrate that it is working in direct alignment with them as specialty physicians.  The purpose is that doctors will recognise this marked change in direction and will be willing to voluntarily pay a reasonable membership fee knowing that it will take time for the many issues to gain traction after years of inertia. The right not to participate will be balanced with the concern that no specialist section “free-load” off the funding of others. If a percentage (to be determined) of a specialist section’s membership choose not to become members of the OSA and not to pay dues, then that section’s board seat and/or right to participate in board elections will be suspended until such time as the section returns to the minimum participation threshold for membership.  The thrust of the OSA is to earn trust and to demonstrate measurable ways of showing progress and a genuine interest in advancing the individual and collective specialist interest.

How will the OSA be governed?

The OSA will be governed by an elected Board of Directors. Larger specialist sections will directly elect their own nominee(s) to the board. Small specialist sections could be grouped together, and that group(s) will directly elect a nominee(s) to the OSA board.Sections and groups will only be able to vote for their specific board nominee(s). They will not be able to vote for or against the nominees of other sections or groups.This more representative approach is currently lacking in OMA governance and a topic of longstanding irritation.Board members will serve a maximum of three two-year terms.The OSA’s Governance Principles document provides further details. Click here to view.

If my section joins the OSA, what will happen to my OMA benefits (e.g. insurance)?

All current OMA membership benefits including insurance will continue to be offered.  Insurance carriers will not let insurance coverage be interrupted and the OMA is expected to maintain stability in insurance coverage they have offered doctors for many years.  While not an immediate priority compared to the organisational work that must be done, OSA members should expect that major benefit programs like insurance will be offered with major carriers through comparable programs and more attractive rates.  This is one of many topics the OSA will be closely listening to members to establish OSA priorities.  The plan is to not create an OSA bureaucracy but rather engage competent and conservative partners to manage these services cost-effectively on our members’ behalf.