BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

September 23, 2010 11:00 ET

BC Medical Association/Patient-Focused Funding: Valuing What Health Care Providers Do for Patients

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2010) - Reduced wait times and better access to hospital services are among the benefits patients in BC's health care system could expect with the implementation of Patient Focused Funding (PFF). In this model, patients are seen as a benefit to hospitals instead of a cost. Hospitals would be paid for every patient they treat providing the impetus to see everyone in a timely manner and increase the volume of services provided to patients. The measures used to determine success of PFF programs must be evidence-based, risk-adjusted, and developed in collaboration with patient representatives.

Recently, there have been various funding models discussed by government and other stakeholders in the quest to contain health care costs. Patient Focused Funding in this case is defined as any method of compensating providers – which can include physicians, nurses, and hospitals – that uses financial incentives to improve the appropriateness, quality, and efficiency of care for patients. The BC Medical Association has released its policy paper Valuing Quality: Patient-Focused funding in British Columbia, which offers ten recommendations on the structure, implementation and evaluation of PFF including:

  • Any PFF program must be designed to support and improve the timeliness, safety, and health outcomes of patient care within a cost certain environment.
  • A multi-stakeholder working group under the BC Health Services Purchasing Organization must be created and should include physicians and other health care providers.
  • All PFF programs must be rigorously evaluated for their impact on patient care, access and costs.

"Our research has shown that PFF models need to be flexible and phased in to any situation in which they could be applied," said Dr. David Attwell, Chair of the Working Group that developed the paper. "Implementation of a successful PFF program requires system-wide collaboration, commitment and leadership to achieve the highest level of quality for patients, for those who work in the health care system, and for government who pays for it."

The BC government has recently announced its investment of $250 million, plus another $24.3 million, to launch and further develop its PFF model. Although the BC Medical Association supports many of government's PFF initiatives, we also believe that patient safety and quality of care must be included as key measurement criteria. As well, more work needs to be done to ensure everyone involved in PFF from hospitals to health care providers to government share the same understanding of how PFF models function.

The policy paper can be found on the BCMA website at www.bcma.org.

Contact Information

  • BC Medical Association
    Sharon Shore
    604-638-2832 or 604-306-1866 (pager)
    www.bcma.org