Want more family doctors? Change how they work and get paid says B.C. researcher

Want more family doctors? Change how they work and get paid says B.C. researcher
Many grads ‘don’t want to run a business — that’s not what they went to medical school for’

Maryse Zeidler · CBC News · Posted: Mar 24, 2019
[Excerpt] A Vancouver doctor says the tentative agreement British Columbia recently reached with the province’s 13,000 doctors doesn’t do enough to change family medicine and address what she describes as a crisis in primary care. 

Dr. Rita McCracken, left, with a patient at a nursing home where she works. McCracken wants the province to provide more team-based care for patients. (Providence Health Care)

Dr. Rita McCracken, a physician and University of British Columbia researcher, says the agreement doesn’t include newer ways for doctors to work and get paid. 
“The care that has been provided through the old system has, by and large, been pretty good care,” McCracken said. “We’re seeing that other systems might be better for population health.”

Currently, most family doctors in B.C. are paid about $30 per patient visit — whether they’re treating a cold or a complex health problem.
Physicians run their practice as a business, and pay out overhead costs like staff and office space at an average rate of about $60 per hour or more.

McCracken says many doctors want to work instead as part of a team of health-care practitioners like nurse practitioners, physiotherapists and social workers who are paid by salary to provide care for a community. 

The province would fund the clinic and the health practitioners would draw a salary. 
McCracken’s UBC research shows about half of the province’s doctors would prefer that approach — especially younger doctors.
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