My mother was never much for arguing in public and she tried to teach me to be the same. She viewed that sort of thing as crude and inappropriate and referred to it as “hanging the dirty laundry out to dry.” I don’t think she has ever watched Jerry Springer, but I am pretty sure if she did, she would be absolutely revolted. Me too.
So why is it, you may ask, that you, Doug Varty, a lowly peon in the mighty New Brunswick Medical Society, have chosen to publicly debate the EMR issue. To contradict the party line. To dare, like Dicken’s Oliver, to say “Please sir, may I have some more?”
Isn’t this just what your mother said you should not do?
Correct. My mother supports quiet diplomacy, and abhors squabbling.
However, she is also a Gordon. Born into the same clan as the Gordon Highlanders of Scottish military legend. You know, the ones the Nazis called “The Ladies From Hell.”
Though she taught me to be polite and respectful, she also taught me not to back down when fighting for a just cause. And when quiet diplomacy fails, well, what’re ya gonna do.
At the annual meeting of the New Brunswick Medical Society in September 2013 I presented the following motion:
“Be it resolved that the NBMS not block EMR vendors to have the ability to interconnect with Dept of Health databases, as long as the vendor agrees to fund the initial cost and ongoing maintenance of the arrangement.”
This motion was passed by a landslide vote of the general membership, despite some obvious attempts to torpedo it by a few well-placed individuals. They pulled out all the stops, trying to swing the vote their way and discredit the opposition. At one point the CEO of the NBMS actually denied the existence of the exclusionary data sharing agreement that he had signed a scant three months earlier. Repeatedly!
Amazingly, some of the muckety-mucks actually tried to claim later that the vote was close. I was there. It wasn’t. I would estimate that approximately 90 percent of those in attendance voted in favour of the motion.
The implication of the resolution is that the leadership of the NBMS must take action to open the Provincial EMR program to more than one EMR vendor and dismantle the monopoly which had been spawned by the NBMS and the Department of Health. The simple way to do this would be for the NBMS President to make a request to the Minister of Health to renegotiate the Data Sharing Agreement to allow for more than one EMR vendor. Four months later and there is no evidence that this has been done. The Minister of Health says that he has received no such request.
I believe him.
Here are some other things I believe and which are borne out by the facts:
- The leadership of my professional organization has failed to act on the wishes of the membership.
- The NBMS leadership has shunned the concept of democracy.
- The NBMS leadership has called into question the legitimacy and the right to govern of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.
These are people who were democratically elected to the positions they hold, yet they refuse to follow the will of the membership. This cannot go on. If they will not act on the resolutions of the membership, they should resign en masse.
THIS is why I have chosen to air the dirty laundry.
Anybody have a box of Tide?