One month in, nearly half of B.C. family doctors have signed on to new pay scheme

Click to play video: 'B.C. doctors mixed on new payment model'
B.C. doctors mixed on new payment model
WATCH: A new payment model for B.C. doctors is now in effect, but not all are completely sold on it. Aaron McArthur has more on what the changes are and why some physicians have yet to sign on. – Feb 1, 2023

Nearly half of B.C. family physicians have signed on to the province’s new pay model which took effect last month, according to Doctors of BC.

The organization said so far, 2024 family doctors have enrolled in the new Longitudinal Family Practice pay scheme, which is intended to address issues the province is having recruiting and retaining physicians.

The figure represents about 45 per cent of longitudinal family doctors, and includes 149 doctors who are returning to family practice after working elsewhere in the health-care system.

Read more: B.C. government’s new doctor payment model comes into effect

“We are hearing that many family doctors who had been planning to leave or retire are reconsidering that decision, which means that thousands of patients who would then be without a family doctor will continue to have one,” Doctors of BC president Dr. Josh Greggain said in a media release.

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“We are also starting to recruit new and returning physicians, which creates new openings for patients who want a family doctor. Patients will benefit as the positive response continues to build momentum.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. doctors will now be among highest paid in country'
B.C. doctors will now be among highest paid in country

The new model, which was hammered out as an agreement between the province, and the Doctors of B.C. and B.C. Family Doctors professional associations, took effect Feb. 1.

Family doctors in B.C. have primarily been paid through a fee-for-service model, which compensates them based on the number of patients they see.

The new model is meant to address the growing complexity of cases and time physicians spend with a patient, along with the volume of patients they are seeing.

Under the model, doctors are paid for the time they spend with patients, as well as time spent on care coordination and administrative work.

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It is built around a full-time equivalent, full-service family physician providing 1,680 hours, seeing 1,250 patients of average complexity, and having 5,000 encounters/visits each year, and would see doctors earning $385,000 per year, up from a previous average of $250,000.

Read more: B.C. budget: Billions earmarked for health care, addictions treatment

“The new model ensures patients have access to the care they need, meets the needs of doctors, and supports the province’s primary care strategy,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement.

“Soon, we will introduce our provincial rostering system which will work to attach patients to longitudinal care providers in their communities. As more doctors sign on to the payment model, they will be able to take on more patients, and I look forward to seeing our health-care system grow stronger as a result.”

The provincial government earmarked more than $1 billion over the next three years, including nearly $400 million this year, to fund the new pay scheme in its latest budget.

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