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New compensation model connects more people to primary care

February 9, 2024 at 10:54 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

As the Province approaches the one-year anniversary of launching a transformational Longitudinal Family Practice Payment Model in B.C., more people have access to primary care with 4,000 family physicians registered for the model in its first year helping expand the number of family physicians working in longitudinal primary care.

As of December 2023, there were approximately 5,000 family physicians in total working in longitudinal primary care, an increase of 708 or 16.5% from December 2022. In addition, there were 590 nurse practitioners working in primary care, an increase of 60 or 11.3% since December 2022 to December 2023.

“Last year, we committed to making every effort to rethink the way the province delivers primary care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “As we mark the first year of our new payment model with family physicians and we’re preparing to connect people to primary care like never before. Among our efforts to strengthen primary care, launching a new payment system for family doctors has allowed them to focus on what they do best, providing care to patients. We said we would connect more people to a family physician and attach more people to primary care, and in the year since the start of the Longitudinal Family Practice Payment Model, that’s exactly what has happened.”

In addition, since launching the New to Practice Incentives Program for Family Physicians in September 2022, there are now more than 230 new family physicians committed to providing longitudinal primary care under the program. There are also more than 230 nurse practitioners working in longitudinal primary care under service contracts. Through this program, these providers have attached more than 243,000 patients with an estimated 222,500 future attachments remaining before they reach the end of their contracts.

Since announcing the expansion of the Health Connect Registry (HCR) in July, the Province has now built out remaining elements of the Provincial Attachment System, which includes a Clinic and Provider Registry and a Patient Panel Registry. Together, these will enable us to streamline and improve connections between patients and providers available for attachment in communities throughout B.C. As of Feb. 7, 2024, more than 50,000 people have been connected to primary care through the HCR.

Since October 2023, more than 4,200 family physicians and nurse practitioners had uploaded their patient panel information to the provincial system and more than 630 family physicians and nurse practitioners had indicated they can accept new patients. The Ministry of Health is now working with the Doctors of BC, the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC, and local primary-care networks to match patients with available providers.

“Taken together, these actions demonstrate a shift happening in primary care throughout B.C.,” added Dix. “It’s resulting in more doctors, more nurse practitioners, and more capacity to connect people to the primary care they need.”

The new capacity created within B.C.’s primary-care system will support the 275,000 people who are now registered with the Health Connect Registry to attach to primary care. 

“As we wrap up the first year of strengthening our primary care system, we have added more doctors, more nurse practitioners and stabilized their work environments with better support and compensation to ensure they have the time they need to focus on their patients. Now, with new technology, better understood patient panels and the first of its kind in B.C. Health Connect Registry, our focus on connecting people to primary care is making the difference that matters,” added Dix.

These actions to strengthen primary care build on B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, which was launched in September 2022 to ensure 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. Since 2017, B.C. has welcomed more than 38,000 health-care providers to the health system.

Quotes:

Dr. Ahmer Karimuddin, president, Doctors of BC –

“B.C.’s doctors care passionately about ensuring patients are able to get ongoing, quality care in a timely way. Working in partnership with government and our colleagues at BC Family Doctors, we introduced the Longitudinal Family Physician Payment Model one year ago. As a result, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of new family physicians for the first time in over a decade. The Patient Attachment System is connecting patients with family doctors, and we will see much more of this taking place in the months to come. These are just a few of the building blocks on our journey to strengthen health care in our province. We feel hopeful for the future and look forward to continuing with this important work on behalf of our patients.”

Bernice Budz, CEO, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC  –

“The association of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC) is pleased to see nurse practitioners (NPs) at the forefront of the Health Connect Registry work that will increase access to primary care for the people of B.C. NPs provide a full range of primary-care services to people and families. NPs diagnose and treat health conditions, prescribe medications, interpret diagnostic testing and work with patients to provide education and counselling to make informed and healthier lifestyle choices. The Health Connect Registry, as part of the overall Provincial Attachment System, is an important tool connecting NPs with patients for this full-spectrum primary care. We look forward to continuing this work with the Province towards a stronger primary-care system.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Health Connect Registry is the first comprehensive registry of people seeking attachment to a family doctor or nurse practitioner in B.C.
  • Population growth is dramatically increasing demands on health-care services in B.C., as well as the number of doctors and nurse practitioners needed to provide them.
  • In the 2020-21 fiscal year, there were 5,317,706 medical services plan (MSP) registrants in B.C. In 2021-22, that number grew to 5,467,252 and climbed again in 2022-23 to 5,655,397.

Learn More:

To sign up to the Health Connect Registry, visit: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-connect-registry

For more information about how the Province is connecting patients to primary care, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HLTH0100-001092

To learn more about the Province’s Primary Care Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010

For more information about career opportunities in B.C. health care, visit:  https://www.bchealthcareers.ca/

To learn more about B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCHealthHumanResourcesStrategy-Sept2022.pdf

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