Saskatchewan is moving to a blended capitation model for family doctors after physicians flagged the model that B.C. had in place.
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Doctors will be able to get a base rate for a standard range of services for each patient, but will also get additional fee-for-service payments for extra services outside that standard range.
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The province said it heard concerns about the traditional fee-for-service model from the Saskatchewan Medical Association.
It said this new model will also support recruitment and retention of doctors in family medicine.
“We are excited to be pursuing a compensation model that supports family physician-led team-based care and a more sustainable health care system in Saskatchewan,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said.
“We take the concerns and needs of our patients and family physicians very seriously and look forward to seeing this work advance.”
“This is very positive news for patients and physicians,” SMA President Dr. John Gjevre said.
“Family physicians are reassured to know that the government has heard their concerns and is moving forward with solutions that demonstrate they are a willing partner in addressing the challenges in our health care system.”
The government of Saskatchewan said the new payment model will take time to design through group efforts between the Saskatchewan Medical Association, Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Ministry of Health.
Sask. healthcare system ‘dissolving’
Ministers Everett Hindley and Merriman answered questions in Saskatoon on Friday from physicians.
Merriman said they want to move to the transition to blended capitation very quickly, adding they have the aim of having something in front of physicians within 12 months.
He said that outsourcing is only a temporary solution in Saskatchewan, adding that they don’t want to cause burnout right now.
“Outsourcing is not a long-term solution; it is a temporary solution that we need to do right now.”
“Minister Everett Hindley and I are trying to balance out on our surgical side of things how we can maximize all of the surgeons out there and our backlog without burning everybody out.”
Merriman claimed Saskatchewan was about six months ahead of other provinces in terms of recruitment for doctors and nurses.
Speakers gave examples of the lineups, wait times, staffing and retention issues seen in hospitals across the province, with one person describing it as a “train wreck.”
Dr. Carla Holinaty, a family physician and member of the SMA board, said she’s thrilled to hear that the government announced this move to blended capitation, but stressed that the association would like to see something sooner.
“We know there’s a lot of stress on our family doctors. We know there are a lot of people making decisions about their practices and whether they are staying in family medicine or moving on to other things,” Holinaty said.
She said the ultimate goal is to move toward a physician-led, team-based model that involves bringing in other health-care specialists to administer care.
Holinaty added she’d like to see interim funding come from the province that would be near blended capitation while doctors wait for the new model to be discussed and rolled out.
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