According to Global News the “Alberta government recently reactivated a billing code so that all physicians providing advice through phone, email, and videoconferencing – including virtual care – can bill for services using the health care code (HSC) 03.01AD… it compensates them $20 per phone call and there is no limit on phone calls per day”. Although Alberta doctors have urged the province to support these types of alternative patient care methods, they have been asking for improved compensation for these types of care services.
Obviously, these types of available remote medical care services are a fantastic tool that could greatly help Canadians requiring continued access to their doctor’s. However, in these times which includes mandatory and recommended distancing, as well as quarantine safety guidelines and laws, it appears that provinces across Canada, not just Alberta, should immediately increase the compensation amount they pay doctors to remotely treat their patients. This virus public health risk is significant to say the least, and the risk certainly indicates that responses must be quick and effective. To that end the provinces should immediately pay doctors the same amount for virtual patient treatment as for regular in-person treatment. This would support doctors within this crisis and enable them to provide needed medical services of the Canadian public. Perhaps the quickest solution would be to allow doctors to bill each call at 2x the current rate (2 calls rate) for each call as of right now? This amount ($40 in Alberta’s case) would be close to the regular patient visit rates. Seems quick and simple.
Being that current reduced direct contact measures may continue for some time, perhaps even months, it is imperative that such solutions are enacted as quickly as possible. We encourage all of our site visitors to contact their local MLAs as well as the Federal Minister of Health to have doctors fairly compensated for telephone appointments now.
Barry M. D. Ho
President, BMD Services