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Still looking for a family doctor?

On Wednesday, BC announced they had launched a new payment model for family doctors in the hopes that physicians are incentivised to start or continue their medical careers where they are most needed. 

In Victoria it is hard to find a family doctor — some wait for years before hearing from one. BC’s new payment model aims to bring doctors to areas where it is hard to get access to medical care so more people can see a doctor when they need to. 

The province says that patients will benefit from physicians’ greater flexibility in both in-person and online appointments as compared to the previous payment structure. 

Patients will now be able to talk to doctors about more than one issue during their appointment due to the physician being relieved of some administrative pressures. 

The new model is being referred to as the longitudinal family physician (LFP) payment model and it came into effect as of Wednesday, February 1st. 

BC says that the Ministry of Health, Doctors of BC and BC Family Doctors all collaboratively worked on the new model with feedback from physicians to make sure their needs were going to be met.

The LFP’s three key elements are:

  • The amount of patients a doctor sees in a day
  • The size and complexity of the doctor’s patient panel (their list of active patients)
  • The time a physician spends providing care and on administrative tasks 

Family doctors will now be compensated more for their extra time with patients, especially when the needs of the patient are complex.

In addition to the new payment model, the province is working on better recruitment, retention and training as well as establishing a working group to reduce administrative burden on family physicians.

The LFP payment model is part of BC’s Health Human Resources Strategy — a 70 point strategy to re-design the healthcare system to “foster workplace satisfaction and innovation.”

Shortly after the new payment model was announced, Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley acknowledged that while it is a step in the right direction, she believes there is much more to be done.

“Congratulations to the family doctors who have long been advocating for changes to their outdated payment model. Family doctors have been forced to prioritize quantity over quality of patient care and run a business in their off time,” said Furstenau.

“This new longitudinal model addresses one piece of these unsustainable conditions and provides an acknowledgement of the working conditions that our family doctors have been forced to maintain.”

“The next step must be to focus on the public. We need community health centres across the province. CHCs built by teams of healthcare professionals focus on whole-person health and provide healthcare that meets the needs of individual communities. It is time for this government to make patient-centred community-based care a priority.”

If you would like to be in a queue for a family doctor you can register for HealthLink here.


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