Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT

Doctors’ pay still growing, but slower than before

January 22, 2013

New metric provides a better picture of physician earnings

OTTAWA, Jan. 22, 2013 /CNW/ – Payments to physicians in Canada for
clinical services exceeded $20 billion in 2010-2011, according to a new
report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

CIHI reports that payments for these services grew by 6% in 2010-2011,
less than the growth seen in 2008-2009 (9.7%) and 2009-2010 (7.9%).

Spending on physicians remains the third-largest source of health care
spending, behind hospitals and drugs.

For the first time, this year’s annual report on physician compensation,
National Physician Database, 2010-2011, presents the average gross clinical payment per physician, including
fee-for-service payments and alternative payments (including salaries,
contracts, payments per hour and payments based on the number of
patients in a physician’s practice). This provides a more comprehensive
picture of how much doctors are paid. Previously, CIHI’s average
payment indicators were based on fee-for-service payments only.

“The new metric provides a much clearer picture of physician
compensation in Canada,” says CIHI’s Jean-Marie Berthelot, Vice
President, Programs. “This information will support governments and
physicians in discussions about compensation.”

The average gross clinical payment in 2010-2011 was more than $307,000
per physician. At 3.1%, this was the smallest increase in the last five

At the provincial level, average earnings ranged from lows of $236,000
in Prince Edward Island and $250,000 in Nova Scotia to highs of
$340,000 in Ontario and $350,000 in Alberta. The averages were not
adjusted to account for provincial variations in the number of
part-time physicians, locums or visiting specialists.

Average cost per service increasing modestly

Canadian physicians across the country delivered more than 245 million
services–ranging from annual physicals and diagnostic tests to surgical
procedures–that were paid for through fee-for-service billings. While
nearly three-quarters of the services provided by physicians were for
consultations and visits, these services accounted for only about
two-thirds of total clinical payments.

The average fee-for-service payment was $54 (5.3% increase over last
year). This was a smaller increase than the previous two annual
increases (7.1% in 2009-2010 and 6.8% in 2008-2009). Family physicians
billed an average of $40 (3.6% increase), while specialists billed $74
(6.8% increase) per service.

The National Physician Database (NPDB) contains billing information and
alternative payments from medical care plans across the country. It has
detailed, comparable information on physician billings and services by
province and specialty. A companion report to National Physician Database, 2010-2011 was released in November; Supply, Distribution and Migration of Canadian Physicians, 2011 has the latest data on physician demographics in Canada. Please see the
media release Physician supply still growing faster than Canadian population.

SOURCE Canadian Institute for Health Information

Source: PR Newswire