Rural Practice Programs

Rural Practice Programs works with health authorities and other partners to address issues and develop policy and programs to improve health services in rural areas of the province. Rural Practice Programs manages a number of key programs such as the Rural Retention program and programs under the Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement.

Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement

The Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement is a subsidiary agreement of the Physician Master Agreement between the B.C. Government, Doctors of BC and the Medical Services Commission. This additional agreement aims to enhance patient care and the availability of physician services in rural and remote areas of the province.

Rural Retention Program

Annual retention benefits are paid to physicians working in eligible communities covered under the Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement. The incentive program was designed to enhance the supply and stability of physicians in these communities. There are two components to the Rural Retention program:  1) Fee Premium paid as a percentage on a physician’s fee-for-service (or APP) billings for providing service in an eligible rural community; and 2) Flat Fee Payment paid on a quarterly basis to physicians who reside and practice in eligible rural communities.

Northern and Isolation Travel Assistance Outreach Program

Northern and Isolation Travel Assistance Outreach program provides funding for approved physicians who visit eligible rural and isolation communities to provide medical services. The program covers travel expenses and a travel time honorarium.

Rural Emergency Enhancement Fund

This program is intended to encourage the provision of reliable, public access to emergency services in health authority designated emergency departments in rural B.C. serviced by fee-for-service physicians.

Rural General Practitioner Locum Program

The Rural General Practitioner Locum program supports and enables rural GPs to have periods of leave from their practices for continuing medical education, vacation and health needs.

Rural General Practitioner Anaesthesia Locum Program

The Rural General Practitioner Anaesthesia Locum program supports and enables rural GPs with enhanced anaesthesia skills to have periods of leave from their practices for continuing medical education, vacation and health needs.

Rural Specialist Locum Program

The Rural Specialist Locum program supports and enables rural specialists to have periods of leave from their practices for continuing medical education, vacation and health needs. Health authorites may apply to the program in order to provide sustainable on-call services.

Isolation Allowance Fund

The Isolatiion Allowance Fund ensures funding for physicians providing necessary medical services in eligible Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement communities with fewer than four physicians and no hospital.

Rural Recruitment

Recruitment incentives are financial benefits available to physicians recruited to fill vacancies or pending vacancies that are part of a Physician Supply Plan in Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement communities.

Supervisors for Provisionally Licensed Physicians

The Supervisors of Provisionally Licensed Physicians program provides compensation to supervising physicians who are assigned by a health authority to assess the knowledge, competencies and clinical skills of provisionally licensed physicians who reside and practice in Rural Practice Subsidiary Agreement communities.

Rural Education

B.C.’s Rural Education program supports the training needs of physicians in rural practice, provides undergraduate medical students and postgraduate residents with rural practice experience, and increases rural physician participation into the medical school selection process.