Report reveals $4.2 billion in payments made to BC doctors

Among roughly 10,000 doctors, more than 100 billed the healthcare system between $1 and $2 million

The latest Medical Services Commission “Blue Book” report, an annual survey of fees charged by doctors in British Columbia, has been released.  

Numbers from the most recent report shows 179 doctors out of 10,000 billed the healthcare system between $1 and $2 million, according to the Vancouver Sun. Nine doctors earned gross payments between $2 million and $3 million, while eight earned more than $3 million.

Among the different types of specialists surveyed, opthalmologists were the highest billers. While many of them also perform surgery in private clinics, only doctors’ earnings in the public system are reflected in the Blue Book.

The report broke down $4.2 billion in payments to doctors. Some line items in the healthcare system’s payments include:
  • $54.2 million in taxpayer-funded contributions to doctors’ retirement savings plans;
  • rebates of $23.9 million for annual fees paid to the Canadian Medical Protective Association (legal help for malpractice and other claims);
  • $18.6 million toward sponsoring continued medical education;
  • $16.3 million for a disability insurance program;
  • $6.6 million in incentive payments to doctors working in rural and remote locations;
  • $4.3 million for parental leave;
  • $600,000 for a program that provides counseling support for doctors in distress

Comparing the Blue Book’s numbers with those from the CIHI’s National Physician Database, BC doctors make less than the national average in terms of billings to Canada’s healthcare system. For the fiscal year ending 2015, the national average was $338,605 while BC doctors’ average was $279,986. Family physicians averaged $271,000, medical specialists got $338,000 on average, while surgical specialists earned a mean income of $446,000.

CIHI’s database had doctors in Alberta and Saskatchewan leading in payments with averages of about $365,000.

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