November 29, 2019
Business Cost Premium
Among the significant challenges facing physicians in BC are the rent, lease, or ownership costs associated with running a community-based office. To offset some of these costs and to provide financial relief to physicians, a new Business Cost Premium (BCP) will be effective April 1, 2020, as negotiated in the 2019 Physician Master Agreement.
Eligible physicians will be able to claim the premium as an increase to MSP payments for consultation, visit, counselling, and complete examination services. To be eligible, physicians must be responsible for some or all of the lease, rental, or ownership costs of a community-based office. The BCP will be calculated based on the eligible fees and the location of the office in which the services are provided.
In order to identify the physical location in which services are provided and for the correct percentage premium to be applied, physicians will need to register their community-based office for a Facility Number, which is a unique physician/office location-identifier. Information will be available in January or February 2020 regarding the online registration process.
One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received is whether facility owners who are not physicians can claim the BCP or alter their existing agreements regarding sharing overhead costs. The PMA clearly states that the BCP is for physicians. Facility owners cannot force physicians to direct the premium, or a portion of it, to cover overhead costs, unless there is an existing agreement with respect to payments of this nature. Agreements to share overhead costs can be made between a physician and a facility owner as required on an individual basis, and not as part of the BCP.
More information about the BCP, including details of percentages and an FAQ, can be found here.
As always, I am happy to hear your thoughts and answer your questions. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Kathleen Ross
President, Doctors of BC