The primary care landscape is changing. Corporations are setting up episodic care clinics in pharmacies and grocery stores, purchasing family medicine clinics, and providing virtual care/telemedicine services. This shift is changing the nature of primary healthcare delivery, including where and how physicians work.
As family physicians sign contracts with virtual care and episodic care clinics owned and operated by corporations, the number of family doctors providing comprehensive, longitudinal, relationship-based care will decrease. This will decrease British Columbians’ access to the type of primary care that has been shown to improve health outcomes and reduce costs to the public system.
The introduction of corporate entities into primary care requires that we examine the fundamental governance, regulation and structures of healthcare delivery in order to ensure that the core tenets of primary care are protected.
BC Family Doctors’ new position statement on Corporatization of Primary Care recommends the following:
- Regulate the practice of primary care to ensure all stakeholders are accountable for providing high standards of medical practice and conduct.
- Uphold and protect physicians’ professional and clinical autonomy
- Create regulations to govern the use of patient health data.