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New pay system adds to administrative burden, Ottawa doctors say

Instead of seeing patients for a full day on Friday, Dr. Ramsey Hijazi closed his office.

He says he’s among hundreds of family physicians with the Ontario Union of Family Physicians who are choosing to train on a new pay system during regular hours.

“I think it’s an ill-conceived plan to kind of roll this out now, dump this on us in the middle of a time where we already are in crisis, we’re already overburdened with paperwork and there’s no financial gain for family physicians,” Hijazi said. “It really doesn’t appropriately capture patient complexity in the increased care you need to provide because it’s such a minimal difference.”

He says doctors in team-based care models get a yearly stipend for each patient based on age and gender. The new system developed by the Ontario Medical Association as part of an agreement with the Ministry of Health now also accounts for medical complexity.

“This is revenue neutral. So, there’s no increase compensation going to family medicine whatsoever. So it’s just kind of a redistribution of funds to account for complexity,” Hijazi said. “The difference between the least complex patient and the most complex patient, the difference in payment between the two systems across demographics is about $0.80 a month. In reality, these more complex patients can require up to ten times more time and resources to manage.”

The OMA did not respond to specific questions about the new pay system. In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, it said because the job action didn’t impact patient care, it didn’t have an issue with it.

“We are aware of the planned educational time physicians are taking this week, although this is not an OMA event, “read the statement. “In the agreement between the government and the province’s physicians, job action that impacts patient care is not permitted; however, we do not believe the planned learning sessions are in violation of this framework.”

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