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Incentives for New-to-Practice Family Physicians

The Ministry of Health is offering several incentives to support new-to-practice (NTP) family physicians who would like to pursue careers in full-service, longitudinal primary care in B.C.

These incentives are being offered to those who completed their family medicine residency program in 2021 or 2022. Incentives include:

  • NTP service contract: an hour-based, two-year renewable contract that offers $295,457 annual rate for one full-time equivalent (FTE) ($275,057 plus $20,400 for General Practice Services Committee’s Quality Improvement activities)

  • Clinic overhead contribution: $75,000 per year for each FTE NTP physician, which is meant to be a contribution to support the physician’s total overhead costs for their host clinic as outlined in the practice agreement between the physician and clinic

  • Signing bonus: a one-time $25,000 signing bonus per FTE NTP physician

  • Medical education debt relief grants: a one-time grant of up to $50,000 in the first year of practice. Potential for additional debt relief grants of $20,000 per year for years two through five following completion of residency

Eligibility

To be fully eligible for the incentives, physicians must:

International medical graduates (IMGs) who completed their family medicine residency through the IMG-BC program – or similar program in another jurisdiction – are also eligible. See 'Medical Education Debt Relief Grants' in the 'Requirement' section below for other eligibility requirements for the grants.

NTP physicians who completed family medicine residencies prior to 2021 and are already working under a NTP service contract providing full-service, longitudinal care are eligible for some of the incentives. This is the same for those who are not currently working under a NTP service contract but wish to provide full-service, longitudinal care. In these cases, physicians are:

  • Eligible for NTP contract rate and overhead payment
  • May be eligible for years two to five of debt relief grants depending on the year they completed their residency
  • Not eligible for the $25,000 signing bonus and first year of the debt relief grants

Physicians in the Practice Ready Assessment Program (PRA-BC) are eligible for the NTP service contract rate and clinic overhead contribution if they are currently practicing and in good standing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. They may also be eligible for the medical education debt relief grant, depending on the year they completed their residency program. As all PRA-BC physicians completed residency prior to 2021, they are not eligible for the signing bonus; however, the Ministry of Health will provide an equivalently valued bonus if the PRA-BC graduate, at the end of the third year of their Return of Service (ROS) in 2022 or 2023, chooses to continue working in full-service, longitudinal primary care in their ROS community for at least one additional year.

Requirements

Family physicians must commit to no less than a 0.5 FTE.  Incentives will be pro-rated based on the FTE commitment.

Eligible practice settings

NTP family physicians must provide full-service, longitudinal primary care to a panel of patients (i.e., not episodic care) in accordance with the terms of the NTP service contract in one of these settings

  • Family physician private practice
  • Community health centre
  • First Nations primary care clinic
  • Nurse practitioner primary care clinic
  • Urgent and primary care centre

Availability of NTP contracts

There are no limits on the availability of NTP contracts for communities provided that the NTP physician and hosting clinic work in good faith to meet the terms of the contracts.

NTP Contract

The length of the NTP contract is for two years, but it can be renewed.

The NTP physician is required to submit a practice agreement, completed and signed with their host clinic, to health authority medical affairs prior to contract execution (health authority contact details are provided in the 'More Information' section below).
The agreement must outline how they will coordinate their work to provide services to patients, as well as confirm that arrangements will enable the physician to meet their contractual obligations.

The contract requires NTP physicians to serve as the regular and most responsible primary care provider for a patient panel of at least 800 new patients by the end of the first year of the contract, and 1,250 patients by the end of the second year. As well, a full-time NTP physician must provide 1,680 to 2,100 hours of service per year. NTP physicians may commit to less than 1.00 FTE, but no less than 0.5 FTEs with a minimum of 840 hours of service per year. The incentives, where applicable, will be pro-rated for commitments less than one FTE NTP physician.

Signing bonus 

NTP physicians will need to provide the following documentation:

  • Confirmation of a signed NTP contract from their health authority
  • Formal documentation from the appropriate medical program or regulatory body demonstrating completion of a family medicine residency program in 2021 or 2022
  • Formal documentation of a full unrestricted licence to practice family medicine and that they are in good standing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia 

To receive the signing bonus, the NTP physician must sign a Signing Bonus and Debt Relief Grant agreement.

NTP physicians who receive the signing bonus are required to provide a minimum 12-months of longitudinal family practice as a condition for the payment.

Medical education debt relief grants

NTP physicians will need to provide the following documentation:

  • Confirmation of a signed NTP contract from their health authority
  • Formal documentation from the appropriate medical program or regulatory body demonstrating the year the NTP physician completed their family medicine residency program
  • Formal documentation that they are current in practice and in good standing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia 
  • Formal documentation from the federal/provincial student loan program or private lending institution confirming:
    • Existence of an active loan that is now in repayment
    • The amount of the outstanding loan as of the date of signing the NTP contract
    • Formal documented evidence or a notarized attestation that the debt has been incurred in support of medical education
  • Confirmation from their health authority medical affairs at the end of each eligible year, that the contract service requirements were met

Clinic overhead contribution

The NTP contract includes funding to be used towards overhead costs.  The $75,000 clinic overhead payment for 1:00 FTE is to be used as a contribution towards the physician’s total overhead costs paid to their host clinic, as outlined in the practice agreement.

How To Apply

Enrolment to the NTP Incentive Program will be open until May 31, 2023. The Ministry of Health will determine over the course of 2022-23 whether the incentives will be offered beyond that date.

For NTP contracts and signing bonus

A copy of the contract template can be provided by your health authority medical affairs. Please submit the required documentations to your health authority medical affairs (provided in the 'More Information' section below). 

For debt relief grants

You will need to provide formal documentation of an active medical education loan that is now in repayment and the outstanding loan amount as of the start of the NTP service contract. Please submit the required documentation to Health Match BC using the link provided to you by your health authority medical affairs . Heath Match BC will confirm eligibility with the Ministry of Health; if you are eligible, they will arrange the NTP Signing Bonus and Debt Relief Grant agreement for you to sign and issue the grant payments to you at the end of each eligible contract year.

For clinic overhead contribution

You will need to provide a practice agreement, signed by you and the host clinic, to health authority medical affairs (provided in the 'More Information' section below.)

If you are eligible for this payment, the health authority will issue payment to you on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. You can then provide the payment to your clinic as per your practice agreement.

Administration

The Ministry of Health reviews all application packages to determine eligibility for the NTP contract and incentives.

Health authority medical affairs collect the required NTP contract documentation from NTP physician applicants. They also issue payments for the clinic overhead contribution to the NTP physicians, through the NTP contract.

Health Match BC administers the signing bonus and medical education debt relief grants to NTP physicians, including collecting the required Signing Bonus documentation from health authority medical affairs and Debt Relief Grant documentation from NTP physician applicants.

More Information

If you are interested in the NTP contract and incentives, contact your regional Health Authority:

If you require recruitment assistance or have any questions with respect to the administration of the signing bonus or debt relief payments, contact Health Match BC at ntp@healthmatchbc.org.

If you have general questions about the NTP contract and incentives, contact the Ministry of Health at newto.practiceincentives@gov.bc.ca.

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