Winter 2020 (Volume 30, Number 4)
B.C. Society of Rheumatologists (BCSR) –
Update from the Pacific
By Jason Kur, MD, FRCPC
On the political front, our representatives
have been extremely
busy. This past year we once
again successfully argued for rheumatology
disparity funding through a
lengthy process at the Doctors of B.C.
Extra funding will be targeted to the
creation of a complex modifier code,
similar to ones that already exist in
general internal medicine. In addition,
we have been negotiating the
transition of our Labour Market Adjustment
fee codes (i.e., our nursing
model of care) from the budget of the
Specialist Services Committee to the
General Medical Services Plan. We
have also been working closely with
B.C. Pharmacare on the transition to
biosimilars as their mandated policies
continue to roll out (now to include
rituximab after the initial etanercept
and infliximab changes in 2019).
COVID-19 has brought many
challenges to clinical practice, and
our leaders have helped ensure the
transition to virtual care has gone as
smoothly as possible. This has included
some outstanding representation
by Dr. Tommy Gerschman to ensure
community specialists have support
for everything from personal protective
equipment (PPE) to adequate virtual
billing codes. Dr. Kam Shojania
has also been our fearless leader in coordinating
the rheumatology response
for the COVID medicine ward at Vancouver
The 15th annual British Columbia
Rheumatology Invitation Educational
Series (BRIESE) conference moved
content online in September but was
no less well attended. Speakers included
Dr. Janet Pope, Dr. Jan Dutz, Dr. Anna
Postolova and Dr David Fajgenbaum.
Dr. Fajgenbaum shared his unique and
inspiring story of battling Castleman
disease as both a patient and a scientist.
Without a doubt, it was one of the
most impactful sessions that has ever
been presented at BRIESE.
The BCSR managed to host a hybrid
Zoom/dinner celebration for
the Annual BCSR/University of British
Columbia (UBC) award winners in
September. The Innovation Award was
jointly given to Dr. Kun Huang and Dr.
Fergus To for their creation of the B.C.
myositis clinic. The Advocacy Award
resulted in a tie for the first time and
was given to two extremely deserving
winners. Dr. Tommy Gerschman has
brought his confident leadership style
to the BC Society of Specialists and
has represented his rheumatology colleagues
exceptionally over many years
through some challenging times, most
recently advocating for community
specialists in the time of COVID. Dr.
Stephanie Ensworth was also feted for
her outstanding leadership role with
Pharmacare as the Chairperson of the
Rheumatology and Autoimmune Disease
Adjudication Advisory Committee
(RADBAAC). B.C. rheumatologists
are extremely fortunate to have her at
the table as a patient and physician
advocate when dealing with biologic
access concerns. Dr Fergus To was
awarded the UBC Medicine Honor
Roll Recipient for Clinical Teaching
Excellence – both for undergraduate
and postgraduate inpatient teaching,
and Dr. Brent Ohata was awarded the
UBC BCSR Teaching Award.
I would also like to congratulate Dr.
Raheem Kherani on his new role as the
UBC Rheumatology Training Program
Director and extend gratitude to Dr.
Shahin Jamal for her tireless work on
behalf of the Training Program as she
exits the role.
We are truly fortunate to have such
accomplished and supportive colleagues
Dr. Brent Ohata, winner of the UBC BCSR
Dr. David Collins – socially distancing
himself from all the other guests.
Dr. Stephanie Ensworth, accepting her award
Jason Kur, MD, FRCPC
Artus Health Centre
University of British Columbia
B.C. Society of Rheumatologists
Vancouver, British Columbia