Your doctor's salary may affect your diabetes treatment
When it comes to diabetes care, how much money your doctor is making could play a role in the quality of your treatment.
A study from St. Michael's Hospital found that about 75 percent of Ontarians with diabetes didn't receive all of the necessary tests required to monitor their condition – and how much their doctors were paid was a determining factor in what type of care they did receive.
Physician pay changing
The way doctors are paid in Ontario has been changing over the past decade, a press release on the study explained. Instead of having family doctors paid a fee for each service provided, the province began a combination of lump-sum payment and "fee-for-service" payments for every patient in a physician's practice.
"When it comes to diabetes, not all Ontarians are getting equal care," lead author Dr. Tara Kiran, a family physician and an associate scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, said in a statement. "Ontarians whose doctors are paid a lump sum per patient are more likely to get the diabetes tests they need. Lump sum funding gives family physicians the flexibility to spend more time with complex patients, collaborate with other professionals, and integrate email and phone calls into their practices."
Forty percent of Ontario's family physicians have been transitioned to the capitation models with the intention to improve patient care and reduce costs. The new model allows doctors much more time with patients, but it remains to be seen whether these improvements last over time – or if it's just a trend of higher-performing doctors joining the new model.
The study also suggests that lack of proper diabetes testing procedures – like cholesterol panels, retinal eye exams and HbA1C tests – will lead to compromised care overall.
"Limited access to good primary care can lead to poor management of chronic diseases, fragmented care through walk-in clinics, and overburdened emergency departments," said Dr. Rick Glazier, a senior scientist at ICES and research director in the Department of Family and Community Medicine of St. Michael's Hospital.
Results of the study are published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.
Source: St. Michael's Hospital
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