Effective 14 December 2020, health authorities are accepting expressions of interest for the simplified COVID-19 service contract. The contract was developed to support physicians paid under fee-for-service (FFS) whose practices have experienced ongoing reductions in volume due to the pandemic. The contract supports physicians on a short-term basis by compensating them on an hourly basis when providing services, including activities necessary for clinical service redesign of their practice/clinic in order to address the impacts of COVID-19 on service delivery, clinical processes, and patient flow. Physicians are required to continue to provide in-person patient care as needed; this contract cannot be used for virtual care only.
To be eligible for the contract, physicians must be currently paid exclusively by FFS and have experienced an ongoing reduction in the volume of the usual services they deliver during the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in a 20% or greater reduction of FFS income. Determination of the reduction in FFS income will be based on the physician’s FFS billings since 1 April 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year. The contract is not available to anesthesiologists and emergency medicine physicians, who have access to other contract options.
Physicians who are interested in potentially transitioning to the contract should contact their health authority’s Medical Affairs Department to discuss next steps. The health authority will notify the Ministry of Health of the physician’s interest in the service contract and the ministry will assess the physician’s historical FFS billings. Physicians who have not experienced a decrease in their FFS billings of at least 20% compared to the corresponding period in the previous year will not be eligible for the contract. The ministry will consider eligibility exceptions on a case-by-case basis.