Province to start merging lists of patients who need doctors, doctors who can take patients

Connecting patients, doctors

Patients without family doctors in B.C.’s urban areas have been signing on to the province’s Health Connect Registry. And now, doctors who participate in a new payment model will be required to supply the province with a roster of active patients.

This summer, the province plans to begin merging those lists in hopes of connecting patients with family doctors who have room for them.

Family physicians who adopt the new payment model must, by July 1, submit a list of active patients for whom they have accepted responsibility, or within three months of enrolling in the payment model, whichever is later.

Under the new model, doctors are paid for time spent with patients and on paperwork, instead of a fee for service.

B.C. Health Ministry Adrian Dix announced last week that about 1,400 of about 4,000 family physicians in the province had registered in the new system.

The Health Connect Registry (healthlinkbc.ca/health-connect-registry) has been open to anyone who wants a family doctor or nurse practitioner in urban areas around the province, which on Vancouver Island includes Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, Western Communities, Oceanside, Nanaimo, Cowichan, Comox Valley and Campbell River District.

Patients must provide a personal health number — found on the B.C. Services Card, previously known as a care card — a home address, postal code, email address and phone number.

The Health Ministry says the provincial rostering system will integrate lists, including the Health Connect Registry, within a “new and refreshed Health Gateway,” which now includes about 1.3 million British Columbians.

The Health Gateway allows patients to get online access via a website or mobile app to health records, including medication history dating to 1995, lab results, hospital visits, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination and other immunizations.

The Ministry of Health says it will work with Doctors of B.C. and B.C. Family Doctors to develop the provincial rostering system to make “attachment” easier for both patients and physicians.

Once the rostering system is in place and all family physicians have provided a list of active patients by July 1, the information can be cross-referenced or merged.

“Physicians will then continually provide updates through the rostering system to receive payments based on their panel size and complexity,” the Health Ministry said.

Patients registered under the Health Connect Registry will not have to re-register.

The Health Ministry says the patient roster will allow the province to work with providers and clinics to identify gaps and attach patients to doctors.

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