Physicians and Island Health Succeed Together Under New Agreement

Under the Physician Master Agreement (PMA), the Ministry of Health provides additional funding to groups of physicians in alternative payment plans in order to improve the quality and availability of care for patients by addressing significant workload growth. The new three-year term PMA signed in 2019, states that physician groups must use data to show the funding need and compete with other physician groups across the province.

At Island Health, sixteen physician groups worked with Medical and Academic Affairs to navigate the new process to apply for additional funds over their base Alternative Payments Program (APP) funding. After evaluation by a provincial executive panel review, that included representatives from the Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health, five of the Island Health physician groups were allocated additional APP funding by the ministry. Ministry officials commended the Island Health physician group applications for their high quality. This funding doubled the amount previously allocated to Island Health in prior years through the old PMA process. 

Medical and Academic Affairs’ project director, Kristine Votova worked closely with the physician groups and Decision Support to prepare their applications and implement the new PMA process for Island Health. This including bringing operational and administrative leaders together with the physician groups for a Q&A and demonstrating their business case for workload, prior to the applications going up to the ministry.

Physicians and panel members said they were pleased with the transparency and engagement throughout the whole process, especially the priority setting.  

“This new process allowed us to bring physicians and Island Health together to set priorities, and the excellent results speak for themselves,” said Dr. Ian Thompson, Island Health executive medical director. 

This process demonstrates the ability of Island Health and physicians to work together quickly to achieve mutual goals. The groups are ramping up for round two of the funding competition where they will build on the successes and learnings from round one.

“This increased funding will help us deliver better patient care and ensure we have the right people with the right supports working in our hospitals,” said James Watson, Island Health corporate director.