A new family physician payment model has come into effect to help more family physicians start or continue their practice and ensure people throughout the province have access to primary care.
Patients will benefit from family physicians having greater flexibility in their practices, both in-person and virtually, compared to the previous payment model. Patients will also have the option of discussing multiple issues with their physicians, who will now have more time for patient care as administrative pressures are relieved by the new model.
Referred to as the longitudinal family physician (LFP) payment model, this new approach came into effect on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, through close collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Doctors of BC and BC Family Doctors. The payment model incorporates feedback from family physicians, supports the Province’s primary care strategy, meets the needs of physicians and ensures patients have access to the care they need.
The new payment model includes three elements:
- the number of patients a physician sees in a day;
- the size and complexity of the physician’s patient panel; and
- the time a physician spends providing direct clinical care, indirect clinical care (such as reviewing lab results or co-ordinating specialist referrals); and on clinical administrative tasks (such as maintaining an accurate and up-to-date list of patients on an electronic medical record).
This means family physicians will be compensated for spending extra time with patients, especially those with complex needs, such as patients with mental-health conditions, and seniors.
The Ministry of Health continues to develop measures to support and improve access to primary care, including improved recruitment, retention and training initiatives. This includes a digital rostering system to determine where capacity exist throughout the province to attach patients to clinics and providers. The ministry aims to have this system in place by July 2023.
The payment model will significantly streamline and simplify the administrative burden placed on family physicians thus ensuring physicians can spend more time with their patients, managing and co-ordinating their care.
It is important to compensate physicians for their time; it is also important to support physicians so they can use their time effectively. Therefore, through the new physician master agreement, the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC are establishing a working group to reduce administrative burden on family physicians.
The LFP payment model is part of B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy. This strategy, announced on Sept. 29, 2022, ensures people get the health services they need and are cared for by a healthy workforce. The strategy focuses on 70 actions to recruit, train and retain health-care workers, while redesigning the health-care system to foster workplace satisfaction and innovation.
To read the initial announcement about the LFP payment model and PMA, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0212-001619
To learn more about B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCHealthHumanResourcesStrategy-Sept2022.pdf
To learn more about Doctors of BC, visit: https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/