Nova Scotia is extending its funding for virtual visits with doctors until the end of the year.
The program that pays for telephone and video conferencing appointments was set to expire on Sept. 30.
"We're all looking for the bright spots in COVID. Sometimes they're hard to find. But I think for both us and our patients, this might be one of those bright spots," said Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, president of Doctors Nova Scotia.
The province initially approved virtual medical care during the pandemic as a way to limit the potential spread of the virus for doctors and patients.
Health officials say doctors had provided 919,250 services remotely as of Sept. 2.
Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey would not comment to CBC News about the decision to extend virtual care.
A spokesperson said the province is still evaluating the program for long-term adoption and it's too early to tell if virtual appointments cause doctors' billings to go up or down.
Doctors Nova Scotia would like to see virtual appointments become a permanent option for patients.
"It's certainly something Doctors Nova Scotia has been wanting to see happen for quite some time," MacQuarrie said.
MacQuarrie noted that other provinces have already taken that route.
She said virtual appointments improve access for patients, especially during severe winter weather.
MacQuarrie said the next steps include determining the correct balance of in-person versus virtual appointments.
She said if Nova Scotians enjoy virtual doctors' appointments and would like to see them continue, they should contact their MLAs to voice their support.
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