April 18, 2011 - Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt Takes Over as President of the Québec Medical Association

Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt Takes Over as President of the Quebec Medical Association

Montréal, April 18, 2011 – The Quebec Medical Association (QMA) closed its annual convention, entitled Transform medical practice… or transform the system?, by designating its new President, Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt. In her acceptance speech, Dr. Vander Stelt addressed the issue of access to family medicine, and emphasized the importance of integrating technology into the practice of medicine.

“One of the most disturbing developments is the difficulty that people are having finding a family doctor. This is an issue that must be addressed, in particular by focusing more on access to a health care team, not only a family doctor,” pointed out Dr. Vander Stelt. “Better access to a technological platform and smoother referrals to specialists must be part of the improvements in primary care.”

A number of significant achievements…

Named physician of the year in 2010 by the Quebec College of Family Physicians, and chosen by Le Droit as its 2010 personality of the year, Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt has often been recognized for the quality of her work. Since she took over as head of the department of family medicine at the Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) du Pontiac, one-third of the patients who had no family doctor found one. The transition clinic she set up for these “orphan patients” had such a significant impact that there has been a noticeable decrease in the backlog at the Hôpital de Shawville emergency department. In fact, this achievement earned her the Coup de cœur from Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services in 2010.

As it approaches its 90th year, the Quebec Medical Association is proud to welcome Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt as its 70th President. The appointment of this exceptional woman of vision and action bodes well for the issues being addressed by the QMA and for the entire medical community.

Overview of the Convention:

Tangible Solutions for the Practice of Medicine

Several issues were touched upon at the QMA annual convention. These are all part of a global approach and vision that aim to find tangible solutions to improving Quebec’s health care system and the practice of medicine in general.

Recap of the Vancouver and Cleveland missions

Dr. Alain Larouche started by reporting on the results of the QMA’s fact-finding and observation missions to Vancouver and Cleveland, Ohio in the previous weeks, thanks to a partnership with Bell. These missions brought together more than 25 professionals from different health care areas, including 13 physicians in clinical practice. The objective was to look at two very different health care environments for reliable solutions to chronic disease management, one of today’s top health care issues. Vancouver and Cleveland provide inspiring models in that regard because of their judicious use of information technologies in supporting medical and health care teams. The blending of different points of view, exchanges and sharing of results that followed among many of the mission participants brought out three key issues for Quebec: the importance of interdisciplinary work, the need to engage patients as partners in monitoring their health, and different payment models for close patient follow-up.

Discussion of physician compensation

Another key moment in the convention came on the Friday afternoon. Drs. Gaétan Barrette, Louis Godin, Amir Khadir and Claude Saint-Laurent, and health care consultant Léonard Aucoin shared their sometimes divergent views on the compensation issue. Drs. Barrette and Godin indicated that they believed that compensation was one of the most powerful driving forces behind transformation, and that fee-for-service can be positive inasmuch as the terms are justified. Other panellists insisted on the fact that compensation should not be a physician’s main motivator, and that beyond the issue of the incentive of remuneration, there is the matter of how the system is set up that must be addressed.

Thomas Goetz and the medicine of the future

The QMA also welcomed American guest speaker Thomas Goetz, who presented his vision of tomorrow’s medicine. According to him, when technology personalizes information and adapts to the user, it can help patients to better understand, with their own emotions, and to be more involved in monitoring their health. According to him, the everyday decisions made by patients have a direct impact on their health.

The CMA’s project on transforming the health care system

The second day of the convention opened with the President of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, presenting the five pillars of the CMA health care system’s transformation (piloted by physicians who have been in practice for at least three years), based on a dialogue among all of the parties involved. Dr. Turnbull mainly came to hear what health care professionals had to recommend in terms of improving the patient’s experience and the health of populations, and optimizing the use of the available resources. A spirited debate ensued with this convention’s panel of experts who are not afraid to speak their minds.

About the QMA

The Quebec Medical Association (QMA) includes nearly 10,000 general practitioners, specialists, residents and medical students. Its Doctors in Action logo clearly illustrates its mission of bringing together the members of Quebec’s medical community to improve the conditions under which they practice and the health of Quebec’s population.