A GP for Me is a joint province-wide initiative of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC. The initiative's aim is to strengthen the health care system by:
- Enabling patients who want a family doctor to find one.
- Increasing the capacity of the primary health care system.
- Confirming and strengthening the continuous doctor-patient relationship, which includes providing better support for the needs of vulnerable patients.
Over time, the supports provided by A GP for Me will:
- Make it easier for doctors to provide and coordinate care for their patients efficiently – so they will be able to accept more patients into their practices; and
- Enable physicians to develop plans at a community level to improve local primary care capacity, including a mechanism for finding doctors locally for patients who are looking for one.
Research internationally and in BC demonstrates that good primary care is beneficial to patient health and leads to a more sustainable health care system*.
Family physicians are central to primary care delivery. Recognizing this, the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC) – a joint committee of the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC – is expanding A GP for Me beyond the three communities (White Rock - South Surrey, Cowichan Valley, and Prince George) that piloted the program and making it available to all practising family doctors who are providing continuous care to patients in BC.
In February 2013, $132.4 million in funding was announced for two GPSC programs aimed at improving primary care in BC.
How A GP for Me works
A GP for Me provides support at two levels: the physician level and the community level.
- At the physician practice level $60.5 million in new fee incentives has been introduced to enhance practice efficiency and support doctors’ capacity to take on new patients including new fees for:
- Telephone consultations for the first time ever in BC.
- Compensating doctors for the extra time patients with chronic conditions require.
- Taking on new patients, with different funding amounts offered for average versus complex patients.
- At the community level $40 million in funding has been made available through 2015 to enable divisions to:
- Conduct research to evaluate the number of people looking for doctors in their communities; seek input from local family physicians; and identify the strengths and gaps in local primary care resources.
- Develop a community plan for improving local primary care capacity, including a mechanism for finding doctors for patients who are looking for one.
- Once divisions complete the Assessment and Planning phase, they will prepare and submit Implementation Proposals to the GPSC to request funding to carry out programs.
Family physicians are critical to this planning process. If you are not already a member, we encourage you to provide your contact information to your local division. The more doctors who get involved to contribute their ideas to the plan, the better.
*Starfield, B. L. Shi, H.-Y. Chang, K.W. Lemke and J.P. Weiner. 2009. “Ambulatory Specialist Use by Nonhospitalized Patients in US Health Plans: Correlated and Consequences.” Journal of Ambulatory Care Management 32(3):216-25.