The BC government has reached a new payment model for family doctors in attempt to strengthen the health care system in the province.
The agreement, created in partnership with the Doctors of BC, BC Family Doctors and the provincial government, will be available as of February 2023.
Family physicians can choose to continue with the current model or opt in to the new one.
“We know how important family doctors are in BC,” said Premier John Horgan.
“Rising costs, pandemic-related pressures and staffing shortages required action for doctors on several fronts. Working with the Doctors of BC, I am pleased that we have come up with a new payment model that makes BC a province that attracts, retains and supports family doctors, and ensures they can focus on what matters most – providing care to patients when they need it,” added Horgan.
Currently, family doctors are paid through a fee-for-service model and the government says the new plan will also pay them for hours worked, the number and complexity of patients and administrative costs which are currently paid directly by family doctors.
According to Adrian Dix, BCs minister of health, the province has been working since January to strengthen the health care system.
“The actions we’ve been taking, including the new payment model, come from working so closely with Doctors of BC and BC Family Doctors to find solutions that strengthen our health-care system, that renew its essential function, and that build on our support for doctors and the patients who count on them,” said Dix.
“Today is about commitment, action, and collaboration, and all they make possible in our health care system.”
It’s estimated about 100,000 people on southern Vancouver Island are without a family doctor.
In August, the province announced stabilization funding of $118 million to support family doctors with overhead costs.
In addition, over 3,000 family doctors will receive $107 million in stabilization payments today.
Earlier this month, the province announced it had hired 54 new doctors to provide full-service primary care in communities throughout BC, with another 60 hires expected soon.
Earlier this year, the province revealed it would be offering a large signing bonus as well as medical training debt forgiveness to new family doctors who agreed to work in BC for at least five years.
They’re the first newly graduated doctors hired under a new incentive plan designed to solve the shortage of family physicians.
They will earn $295,4570 in the first year, plus receive a $25,000 signing bonus, and debt forgiveness for medical training of up to $50,000 in the initial year and up to $20,000 a year over the next four years.
Additionally, doctors will receive a $75,000 payment to go towards the overhead costs for their host clinic.
Along with the 54 contracts signed, more than 60 family physicians are in discussions about suitable clinical placements and the terms of the contract.
According to the province, nearly 140 new family physicians have expressed interest in the incentives.