Visit cap proposed in Alberta
There are some proposed changes coming in Alberta, which those of you working or thinking of come to work here should know about.
The Section of General Practice of the Alberta Medical Association is proposing a cap on the number of visits that can be billed in a day. This may have a significant impact on walk-in centres in particular, which often rely on large numbers of relatively short visits to drive income. For the average family physician with a mixture of long and short appointments it may not have much of an effect.
My most recent resident recounted how in BC (where a similar cap exists apparently), at walk in centres the physicians all see patients until they have reached their daily limit, at which point the walk in centre is closed, whether that is 11am or 9pm.
It seems curious from a health policy point of view in Alberta, where one of the stated objectives is to increase access to primary care, that this is thought to be achievable by limiting how much work doctors can do. Initially these changes were suggested because they would promote quality over quantity, but latterly it has been reported that these changes are designed to reduce the inequity in income between family physicians.
Perhaps it would be better to reduce the inequity between primary care and secondary care providers instead, to make primary care a more attractive career option for Canadian medical graduates.