AG questions ‘cost effectiveness’ of physician services

Vancouver: Christy Clark’s government faces tough questions from the Auditor General. Russ Jones, the Auditor- General in a report tilted ‘Oversight of Physician Services’ stated that the way physicians are paid may not be linked to the best patient outcomes or achieving value for money. Fee-For-Service, the main way physicians are paid, is based on the type of service and the number of patients seen. In the report, the Auditor General says that the B.C. government pays the province’s doctors billions of dollars but has no ability to make sure taxpayers are getting the best value for those salaries.

The report contains six recommendations to improve the oversight of physician services including clarifying the roles and accountabilities of the entities involved with physician services and rebuilding the physician compensation model so that it aligns with the delivery of high- quality, cost effective physician services. Although government has taken some steps to address the issues, significant work is still required.

The oversight of physician services is a complex issue involving multiple entities including the Ministry of Health, six provincial health authorities, the Medical Services Commission, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and the British Columbia Medical Association.

“The solutions need agreement on who is doing what to address gaps in oversight of physician services”, explains Jones. “Collaboration and cooperation is required to implement the recommendations in my report. Physician services are too valuable and the potential impacts too great to not address the issues.”