Winter (Volume 28, Number 4)

Update from the AMRQ

By Frédéric Massicotte, PhD, MD, FRCPC

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Even though former Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette’s term has ended, there remain several laws that have greatly disrupted the healthcare system, even if they were not fully implemented. Luckily, after Dr. Barrette's removal in extremis from negotiations with doctors, the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) quickly came to an acceptable agreement with the government. Under this new climate of collaboration with the Ministry, several committees have been set up to assess the future of medical practice in Quebec. A pan-Canadian study is currently being conducted among the committees to get an actual look at the remuneration of medical specialists in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada and to make adjustments, if necessary. Apart from coercive laws, the Barrette reforms also left behind a new referral process used in specialist practice in Quebec. Therefore, any requests for specialized care in Quebec will be made through a form that is unique to each speciality. This referral process has been used in rheumatology for the last few months. We are still in the early stages, but if good collaboration with the Ministry (and with internal medicine) continues, this new process may be truly beneficial for patients. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Fortunately, the Association des médecins rhumatologue du Québec (AMRQ) is holding up well! I am honoured to be reappointed for a second term as president, and some new names have been added to the General Council: Dr. Guylaine Arsenault, Dr. Sophie Ligier and Dr. Lucie Roy. Welcome! These new arrivals will replace Dr. Ariel Massetto, Dr. Angèle Turcotte and Dr. Anne St-Pierre. I would like to personally thank them for their dedication and exemplary work with the General Council and in their respective fields. Their contribution has allowed rheumatology to boom and it has become one of the most desirable specialties in Quebec in the past few years.

This year, the Merit Scholarship was awarded to my colleague, Dr. Denis Choquette. His work, particularly the creation of Rhumadata Inc. in 1999, allowed Quebec's expertise in rheumatology to stand out at the biggest international conferences. It is important to note that Rhumadata Inc. is the biggest rheumatology databank in Canada. To date, it has more than 5,000 patients and has generated more than 200 scientific abstracts.

The latest Top 3 en rhumatologie event, which is a half-day continuing professional development affair, was a success once again. This activity was supervised by Dr. Anne St-Pierre and Dr. Angèle Turcotte. Unfortunately, Dr. St-Pierre has bowed out this year and Dr. Turcotte will do the same next year. The rheumatology community wishes to thank them for this activity that is greatly appreciated and beneficial to all. They have the assurance that we will continue their work!

For the past few years already, we've maintained growing partnerships with our French colleagues. As planned, about thirty rheumatologists from Quebec met with French rheumatologists in Bordeaux in April 2018 to take part in the National Days of Rheumatology conference. Those present can attest to the extreme generosity and exceptional welcome that we received. We have fond (though sometimes vague) memories of this event, and we will be sure to do the same for them when they visit Quebec in fall 2020.

There is not enough space here to highlight the excellence and professionalism of several outstanding colleagues. It is this transfer of knowledge between senior and junior colleagues that is one of the undeniable strengths of our association. This accessibility and closeness between colleagues is a treasure that we must protect. I am proud to be a part of this association which I would actually call a rheumatological family. And, we all know how important family is.

Frédéric Massicotte, PhD, MD, FRCPC
Association des médecins rhumatologues du Quebec (AMRQ)
Montreal, Quebec

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