Pulse on Family Medicine - September 2015

Additional Funding Cuts and Fee Changes Effective October 1, 2015

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced additional funding cuts to physician services payments and new fee code changes. The OCFP understands that this is both concerning and frustrating for family physicians who are trying to focus on providing the best care for their patients and families. The OCFP is tracking media reporting, following discussions through social media, and will work with our colleagues at the Ontario Medical Association, the negotiating body for Ontario's physicians, to keep you informed of any ongoing changes.  

As a reminder, negotiations between the government and the OMA halted in January 2015 following the OMA's rejection of the government's offer. On Jan. 15, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care responded to the breakdown in negotiations and in February, the Ministry released details of the unilateral funding cuts on physician services. 

The MOHLTC posted an INFOBulletin announcing the additional cuts to payment of physician services. These include:

  • Effective Oct. 1, 2015 a 1.3% payment discount will be applied on all fee-for-service physician payments. The discount will be reported on the Remittance Advice as a Physician Payment Discount. (This discount is in addition to the 0.5% on April 1, 2013 and the 2.65% on Feb. 1, 2015).
  • Effective Oct. 1, 2015 there will be a number of fee code changes, notably in diagnostic imaging, point of care laboratory services, diabetes management incentive, pre-operative consultations for low-risk surgery and echocardiography.
  • Effective April 1, 2015 there will be a 1% cut to all fee-for-service claims submitted by a physician who has been paid $1M or more in professional fees. A separate INFOBulletin will be issued about details of this payment reduction.
The MOHLTC INFOBulletin is available here and includes links to charts detailing all fee code changes. On Sept. 14, 2015 the OMA issued a media release about this next wave of cuts expressing ongoing concern with the Ontario government's commitment to patient-focused care.

The OCFP appreciates that the current fee changes are very difficult for members and some practices will be significantly affected. The OCFP will continue to support family physicians through education and practice supports to provide high-quality care for their patients. We are always interested in your perspectives and comments about issues facing family physicians. The OCFP will continue to advocate for and represent the collective voice of our membership with both the OMA and the MOHLTC to the best of our ability, as we have done in the past. Please email OCFPPulse@cfpc.ca.