Rural communities struggle to recruit and retain physicians. Thankfully, the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) is making critical improvements to the Rural Retention Program (RRP) to stabilize funding so that physicians are more eligible for incentives and benefits. Effective April 21st, 2021, the following improvements will encourage more doctors to start practices and keep connections in rural communities:
- RRP Income Eligibility Threshold for 2021/2022 is now $65,000 (previously $75,000) to account for the impact of COVID-19
- Effective April 1st, 2020 physicians on parental or medical leave are retroactively eligible for the RRP flat fee payment and their earned RCME benefit for 1 year
- Physicians who live and work in rural communities who are eligible for the Business Cost Premium payments receive an additional Rural Business Cost Modifier (RBCM)
- The minimum point threshold is now 1.5 (previously 6.0). Communities within 1.5-14.99 points are now eligible for “C” designated benefits
- Point assessments are now implemented using a 5-year rolling average to stabilize payments and benefit levels
If you are a rural physician you can expect to receive a letter about the improvements for your community. Updates to the RRP program were long overdue (almost 20 years!) and promise a better experience for physicians and their communities. If you have any questions about these improvements, contact Doctors of BC.