Bill 20 set to reduce salaries for underperforming doctors

Bill 20 set to reduce salaries for underperforming doctors

The Minister of Health Dr. Gaétan Barrette financially penalizes family doctors for not taking enough patients or not seeing them often enough.

Dr. Gaétan Barrette announced Friday the outline of Bill 20 aimed at improving access to family physicians in Quebec.

According to the minister, family physicians do not take enough patients under their wing. And they do not often welcome new patients in their offices, relegating patients in crowded emergency.

Now, family physicians will have to improve their balance sheets. Or they will see their salary reduced. “It’s a small gesture of nothing … This is an incentive gesture. So it’s a gesture we see happen. You know, a gesture, it hurts when you do not see it coming. So there, now they see him coming. And then there is an adult decision, informed consent, which must be taken. This gesture is coming. Decision: I agree to get hit, or I change my practice profile” summarized the Minister of Health.

Two criteria are used to assess the attendance of a physician. This will support a minimum of patients. He will also meet more frequently than his emergency room colleagues. For example, a family doctor receives a patient once a year. But he also goes to the emergency room four times to see another doctor. In the end, the family physician has assumed the fifth of the service. He will suffer financial losses.

Conversely, a family physician whose patient came in for three appointments this year, will never go to the emergency for the same service, will be entitled to a perfect score of 100%. Emergency attendance therefore becomes a staple criterion in the evaluation of family physicians.

Gaétan Barrette does not see a way to punish doctors for actions taken by their patients. “People do not ask to go to the emergency. People should demand to have access to their family doctor,” says the Minister of Health.

“We told the doctors: either you change your practice profiles, your ways of working, or you will actually have a decrease in your salary,” says the Liberal minister.

“If you change your practice profiles, you have access to full compensation, and the citizen is thereby happy with your service.”

Dedicated family physicians devoted full time to their patients do not lose out, argues the minister. “The question is not to punish anyone,” he insists. “It’s not a matter of punishment. It is a matter of social responsibility.”

DR. Gaétan Barrette acknowledges in passing that the era of offering incentives to family physicians according to their practice volume is over. “The issue of access to the first line cannot pass through incentives; it can no longer pass through additional costs either.”

The Parti Quebecois yesterday denounced the bill questioning the link between practice size and quality of care. “The volume does not necessarily guarantee therapeutic success with patients,” stated the spokesperson PQ health, Diane Lamarre.

The Coalition Avenir Québec criticized Minister Barrette’s excessive control of the practice of family doctors. “It is in our opinion a bill that goes much too far. This is nothing less than a trusteeship of general practitioners by the Minister of Health, which is not absolutely necessary,” said spokesperson Eric Caire, “We are using a cannon to kill a fly.”

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