Monday, April 5, 2010

$45 Million to Support Better Patient Care in British Columbia

April 1, 2010
Ministry of Health Services | BC Medical Association

VICTORIA – Starting today, specialist physicians in B.C. are eligible for new fees and support that will improve access and service for patients while increasing efficiency and capacity for physicians. 

The new supports are initiatives of the Specialist Services Committee (SSC), a joint committee of the Province and the BC Medical Association (BCMA) that works closely with health authorities on the delivery of specialist physician services to British Columbians. With the mandate of supporting and improving the specialist care system, the committee will receive a total of $45 million in funding by 2011-12 to support its policies and programs.

“The SSC initiatives are one more example of the work we are doing in partnership with the BCMA to improve patient care across the province,” said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “Since 2004, we have invested around $100 million annually through the General Practice Services Committee to support health services provided by family physicians, and evaluations have shown that our investment has paid off with increased satisfaction for patients and doctors. We look forward to similar positive results for B.C.’s specialist care system, including more collaboration between specialist physicians and general practitioners.”

Created to increase specialist capacity and improve patient access to specialist physicians, the Specialist Services Committee introduces a number of new billing options that were not available under the previous billing system. It is anticipated that the changes will result in overall cost avoidance for the health system and provide benefits for both patients and physicians through a reduction in ER visits, and unnecessary or inappropriate referrals. Other expected benefits are increased job satisfaction for specialists and reduced stress for their medical office assistants (MOAs).

“The doctors of B.C. look forward to the long-term success of the SSC initiatives,” said Dr. Brian Brodie, president of the BC Medical Association. “These new initiatives will help support the much-needed communication between specialists and GPs as they co-ordinate the care of their patients. This is about finding ways to improve access to specialty care, as well as improving the overall quality of the services being delivered.”

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