New medical practice model aims to attract young physicians

·2 min read
New Brunswick Medical Society president Dr. Jeff Steeves says the new model allows for flexibility of patient care. (New Brunswick Medical Society - image credit)
New Brunswick Medical Society president Dr. Jeff Steeves says the new model allows for flexibility of patient care. (New Brunswick Medical Society - image credit)

A cluster of medical clinics with a new approach to family medicine has popped up across New Brunswick in hopes of attracting more physicians to the province.

Family Medicine New Brunswick launched in 2018 and now has eight group practices that are each operated by a team of family doctors.

Each clinic offers after-hour care, a new compensation model and has a focus on recruiting young family physicians.

"Doctors want to work in a team, they want to work where there's an electronic medical record and they may want to work where there's less of an administrative burden," Dr. Jeff Steeves, an ophthalmologist and the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, which includes Family Medicine New Brunswick, told Information Morning Fredericton.

"It's an attractive model that young physicians have told us that they want."

So far, about 60 per cent of the 49 physicians involved are either new to practice or in the first two years of their medical careers, he said.

Steeves said young physicians are "embracing this team approach," and that the new payment model takes into account all forms of patient care, unlike other practices in the province.

He said private practices are either compensated by salary or on a fee-for-service basis, which is restricting in certain fields that aren't measurable by service, including psychiatry.

It also doesn't take into account the amount of time needed to care for certain patients, who end up not getting the care they need because of a lack of funding.

Family Medicine New Brunswick has a blended payment model that provides a base level of funding for the number of patients, complication and age of those patients, and top-ups for after-hour work and weekends.

"This allows the flexibility that, when something takes longer, the physician is able to provide that more comprehensive care to patients," said Steeves.

"Health is no longer just about being not ill."

Family Medicine New Brunswick uses a new compensation model in order to attract young physicians into the province.
Family Medicine New Brunswick uses a new compensation model in order to attract young physicians into the province. (Shutterstock)

Steeves said patients get the benefit of having several physicians in each practice, which broadens the services and expertise available to them.

"It allows them to be in a team atmosphere, so if their physician is away then they will have another physician or team member that should be able to look after them," he said.

The provincial government partnered with the New Brunswick Medical Society to create and allow for the new payment model to occur through Medicare, said Steeves.

He said it takes four physicians to form a team-based practice.

There are two Family Medicine Clinics in Fredericton and one each in Fredericton Junction, Edmundston, Woodstock, Saint John, Oromocto and Bathurst.