The new Overhead Study is about to start. Doctors from all sections will be randomly selected to achieve about 1:6 doctors being surveyed. The survey results will be anonymous, but vitally important. We are hoping that accurate income/income sources and expenses data can be collected. This information will allow fairer allocation of future increases and benefits. The new Modified Annual Net Doctor Income (MANDI) formula we are proposing needs solid inputs to be useful. And with a great income survey we will no longer be subject to the garbage-in-garbage-syndrome out when comparing doctors’ earnings. Please help us to get good information. At the Specialists of BC, we have been working hard with the Doctors of BC economics department to ensure that 2017 yields the best survey yet. If you are one of the doctors selected, please answer the survey honestly and accurately. We need you!
One of the SSC fee codes being “overbilled” at least in relation to the funds the SSC has available is the specialists’ telephone advice code (10001). It looks like there may be a cap imposed on the number that can be billed per doctor per month. Have you considered telehealth? All sections have good telehealth billing codes. What if the next time you are asked for advice, you request that the GP allow you to see and talk to the patient, perhaps on FaceTime or Skype? The patient could confirm a few key details, your advice may be improved, and you can now bill a telehealth visit – simple, moderate, consultation, whatever is appropriate. If you are facing a cap for telephone advice, this approach could allow continued payment for your advice, instead of giving it (and your time) away for free.
The Specialist Services Committee was awarded funds from government to engage specialists in innovation, resulting in the Labor Market Adjustment (LMA) fund, positive impacts on recruitment and retention, and some new fee codes (SSC fees) that promote quality and motivate physicians. The LMA fund was a fixed amount, and nine sections successfully applied for a portion of it. They created new codes and went to work. Unfortunately, it worked too well, and almost all the sections found that the amount they are billing exceeds the award.
These sections have been making tough decisions on how to reduce billings. Now the non-section specific SSC fees, such as telephone advice and discharge conferences, are also being billed beyond the original government awarded amounts. We all are faced with having to reduce those billings too. No matter how successful the codes were at encouraging the right practices, and even if they result in overall savings, we are being told they have to be reduced. The SSC is holding meetings and trying to work with specialists, but it is extraordinarily difficult, and any cuts are going to be uneven and surely unfair. Although we may have to reduce the services we deliver, none of us should accept prorating of any fees. If the government and SSC feel they do not have sufficient funds to provide necessary services to BC citizens, then they can explain it. They can choose what services to keep or suspend. But we must not prorate ourselves and continue to do the same work for less.
A proposal to reduce the DBC board size and create a large representative assembly (RA) was passed by a very large proportion of the doctors who voted. The Specialists of BC worked very hard on your behalf to ensure there was a fair distribution of specialists on both the board and the RA. As a result, at least four of the nine board positions and 49 of the 104 RA members must be specialists. We have convened a Specialists of BC governance working group to help ease the transition to this new governance model. Overall, I see an opportunity for a larger influence by specialists and the SBC within the Doctors of BC, as previously we rarely had even 25% of the board being specialists. We will keep you informed on progress, and how we plan to continue to protect specialists’ incomes and practices.
Be sure to join your Specialist society for 2017 at https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/account/dues if you haven’t already done so – we’re offering a 50% discount on dues this year! This reduction will be applied automatically when you select your membership category online. Thank you for supporting the Specialists of BC.
As well, the SBC/SSPS Annual General Meeting is being held the evening of Wednesday, April 19, 2017 in Vancouver, where as a member you can vote on proposed constitution and bylaw amendments. Just join and then let us know if you plan to attend and we’ll send you the details.