President's Message

David White, MD, CCFP, FCFP, President

Advocating for appropriate supports for family physicians

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) supports family physicians in many ways. We have a core role in promoting high educational standards and certifying family physicians. We also promote the value of family physicians through advocacy, which includes calling for appropriate infrastructure supports and fair payment models that allow us to provide comprehensive, continuous care that meets community needs. The CFPC is not a negotiating body, so our effectiveness in this area relies on collaboration with other organizations and between our own National Office and Chapters.

In late August Dr. Francine Lemire and I attended the Family Doctors of Canada Forum, hosted this year by the Quebec Medical Association, which brought together family physicians from all provincial and territorial medical associations (PTMAs). It was an opportunity for a cross-country check-up on clinical, business, and political models. There were wide-ranging, timely discussions on topics such as the state of negotiations with governments, payment models in different jurisdictions, and fee and income relativity compared with other specialties. In every jurisdiction family physicians are at or near the bottom of average clinical payments to physicians, according to a 2015 report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Nevertheless, it was gratifying to hear that the CFPC’s Patient’s Medical Home (PMH) model is providing a useful framework in several provinces. For example, the General Practice Services Committee in British Columbia, a partnership of the provincial government and Doctors of BC, has used the PMH model as a basis for negotiating, calling it “the foundation on which to build a streamlined and accessible service to patients.” Other PTMA representatives have also found the PMH Best Advice guide on remuneration useful.

Many of these financial themes continued to be discussed at the Canadian Medical Association’s 150th General Council and Annual Meeting. Topics that garnered a lot of attention included concerns about proposed tax changes for private corporations, disability insurance, a desire to review approaches to malpractice insurance, and (again) income relativity.

Across the country physicians face challenging negotiations and constrained economic environments. Despite this, the dominant theme that we hear from family physicians is that they are passionate about their work and making a difference in the lives of their patients and communities.

For more information about how the College is working to support family physicians in these areas, please read the new CFPC Strategic Plan 2017–2022 and our most recent health care report card for the federal government.

David White, MD, CCFP, FCFP

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