Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 6(2) December 2002 .doi:10.12927/hcq.2002.20484
Longwoods Review

Provider's Perspective - The Doctor is Out: An Influence on Government Policy

Joe de Mora

This reasonably technical article outlines how the authors were able to determine participation rates of B.C. physicians in the "Rationed Access Day" or RAD protest action initiated by the British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA) in 1998/1999. The action was initiated by BCMA to draw public attention to physician billing caps and ostensively to save money for the payment plan. The article suggests a costing methodology based on a comparison of billings by 4,131 physicians on particular days before (normal billing period) and during the RAD action. It presents a convincing argument that the vast majority of the physicians studied (84%) participated on at least 10 of the potential 20 RADs identified by BCMA. The high degree of participation was thought to be the result of the mitigation of patient inconvenience allowed by scheduling RADs. While the RAD process did not appear to have resulted in savings to the plan (since work seemed to been shifted to other time periods), it was deemed to have been successful in that the BCMA was able to get the B.C. government to increase funding for BCMA members and to change policy on how billing caps were administered. The study concludes that, given the success of this form of protest, other medical associations may look to implementing a similar rationing action as a way of influencing government policy.

About the Author(s)

Joe de Mora
President and CEO
Kingston General Hospital

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