Primary Care Clinic Funding
That the Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District maintain their current financial model, which does not include funding clinics to facilitate physician recruitment.
During discussions around the 2019 Business Plan, the Board indicated that access to healthcare providers in the South Okanagan and Similkameen was of interest, and that they would like to explore Regional District participation in physician recruitment. Regional conversations around access to primary care were spearheaded by the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice (SOSDFP). SOSDFP is a membership corporation for primary care providers covering the same geographic area as the regional district and supports a full-service physician network, team-based care, long-term care, maternity care and many more healthcare functions. They are also very involved in physician recruitment.
While SOSDFP was investigating which factors motivated physicians to choose one location to practice over another, they found that—among other variables—professional support was a key factor. If a young doctor can locate in a community that has clinic space available; doesn’t require a investment; has other providers in the clinic to assist with advice and patient support; and if they can focus on being a physician rather than a business owner, they may prefer that solution.
Through the Ministry of Health and Health Authorities, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and Urgent and Primary Care Centre’s(UPCCs) are being initiated and established throughout the province to meet the conditions that are attractive to general practitioners.
The SOSDFP has presented to the Regional Hospital District on how financial participation by the RHD in future primary care clinics could lessen the implementation time. The delegation also suggested that five clinics were required in the RDOS region, in addition to one or two more in Penticton. (Ponderosa Primary Care Centre has since been established in Penticton.)
There are different operating models for existing Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics. Some are managed by physicians directly, some through IHA and, in the case of the Ponderosa Primary Care Clinic in Penticton, through SOSDFP. An operating mechanism would need to be discussed in future.
The Bigger Picture
The initial focus of this project was to investigate what the Regional District could do to assist in the recruitment of physicians to our area. The shortage of family doctors in the Regional District is prevalent and increasing. Several areas identified as needing a Primary Care Clinic lie throughout the RDOS and best efforts should be made to ensure that future Clinics meet the needs of the community in which they are located.
According to the SOSDFP, there are approximately 12,000 citizens in the region without access to a
general practitioner, and climbing. Further, of those GPs currently seeing patients, 1/3 are expected to retire within the next five years.
Should the Board of Directors choose to participate in funding primary care clinics or some other
mechanism of physician recruitment, funds must go to facilities designated under the Hospital Act.
Representatives from Interior Health attended at the Hospital Board Meeting to discuss process on
how this has occurred in other areas.
1. That the OSRHD budget to facilitate participation in the development of Primary Care Clinics.
2. That the Board receive this report for information and defer future discussion indefinitely