Released on May 5, 2023
Health Human Resources Action Plan Continues Progress with Action-Based Solutions
The Government of Saskatchewan is announcing plans to develop a new made-in-Saskatchewan family physician payment model based on blended capitation.
Blended capitation is considered “blended” because it offers two streams of remuneration to family physicians:
- A base payment for a standard basket of services is provided for each patient rostered (i.e. a per capita payment), and the amount is adjusted by the age, gender and complexity of each patient; and
- Additional fee-for-service payments are available to physicians for the extra services provided outside of the defined basket of services.
This will offer an alternative to the traditional fee-for-service model in which a family physician’s payment depends solely on the quantity of services provided.
This payment model will allow physicians to work collaboratively with a team of health care professionals, ensuring greater access and quality of care for patients, and better distribution of responsibilities among team members.
The Government of Saskatchewan has heard concerns raised by the Saskatchewan Medical Association that an alternative to fee-for-service is needed. This new model will support ongoing recruitment and retention efforts in family medicine. Recent successes include the recruitment of 72 family physicians and 106 specialists to Saskatchewan from outside the province for a total of 178 physicians in the last 20 months
“We are excited to be pursuing a compensation model that supports family physician-led team-based care and a more sustainable health care system in Saskatchewan,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “We take the concerns and needs of our patients and family physicians very seriously and look forward to seeing this work advance.”
“This is very positive news for patients and physicians,” SMA President Dr. John Gjevre said. “Family physicians are reassured to know that the government has heard their concerns and is moving forward with solutions that demonstrate they are a willing partner in addressing the challenges in our health care system.”
This new model was recommended by a collaborative working group formed between the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Ministry of Health. The new payment model will take time to design through further group effort. In the meantime, the ministry intends to work closely with the SMA to design transitional measures that build capacity for physicians to eventually adopt blended capitation.
HHR Progress Update Highlights
Work is ongoing on multiple initiatives of Saskatchewan's Health Human Resources (HHR) Action Plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain more health care workers.
Seventeen Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) and two Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs) from the Philippines have arrived to the province. Saskatchewan's recruitment missions to Philippines have delivered a high success rate, with conditional job offers made to nearly 400 Registered Nurses (RNs), 21 CCAs and two MLAs. More than one third of the RNs are moving through the RN Pathway, which includes language, bridging education and licensing.
“As we continue to attract internationally trained health care workers to our province, we are also providing more opportunities for health care professionals and graduates here at home,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said.
SHA is actively connecting with nursing students and recent graduates to promote employment opportunities. Since December 2022, the SHA has hired 186 grad nurses from the province and across Canada. A further 129 conditional job offers have been made to nursing students who will be graduating this spring.
The Ministry of Health continues to offer incentives between $30,000 and $50,000 to recruit in nine high priority classifications in rural and remote Saskatchewan, in exchange for a three-year return-of-service. Since launching last fall, the program has seen success with a total of 105 incentive packages approved in a variety of professions and locations.
Progress also continues toward the target of recruiting 250 new and enhanced permanent full-time positions to stabilize staffing in rural and remote areas, with nearly 120 positions now filled.
The Final Clinical Placement Bursary offered to students in health disciplines has seen high uptake, with 168 bursaries approved and paid out in 2022-23, the highest since 2014-15. Applications are now closed for this program. Updates will be available on the Government of Saskatchewan website soon.
Additional progress is being made on each of the four pillars of Saskatchewan’s HHR Action Plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain more health care workers. In addition to the highlights above, further progress includes:
Health Recruitment and Retention Navigators
- Health Recruitment and Retention Navigators have responded to more than 4,600 inquiries from internationally educated health professionals from abroad.
- Health navigators provide assistance to potential international candidates looking to relocate to Saskatchewan and support them through the necessary steps to obtain licensure, connect to career opportunities and provide up to date information and resources.
- A Healthcare Navigator Services webpage was launched in early March to assist Internationally Educated Health Professionals and has had over 1,200 views. The navigator team can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Unlicensed Internationally Educated Health Care Professionals Residing in Saskatchewan/Canada
- The SHA has extended conditional offers to nine Saskatchewan-based internationally-educated RNs who are now currently participating in the bridging education program.
- The SHA has hired 14 Ukrainian newcomers into the health care workforce.
Training Pathways for High School Students
- SHA health student events:
- Job Shadow opportunities are available for high school students (Grade 12) or adults considering a career in health care. The SHA has hosted 35 job shadow requests since February.
- Various volunteer opportunities are offered to students older than 14 across the province. This provides young people with a chance to experience health care settings which may help them consider a future role in health care.
Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive
- This incentive is available to new employees in nine high priority classifications in rural and remote areas. For a complete listing of eligibility criteria and eligible locations, visit saskatchewan.ca/HHR.
Rural Physician Incentive Program
- Effective April 1, 2023, an enhanced Rural Physician Incentive Program is being offered to help retain family physicians practising, or returning to practise, in rural Saskatchewan. The total incentive is now up to $200,000 over five years, more than four times the amount that was previously offered.
- The program has had a high response, nearly tripling the number of applications that would be received in an average year. Of the applications received so far, 96 have been determined eligible. Applications are still being reviewed.
Details on health care opportunities, how to access them and more information on the province’s HHR Action Plan are available at saskatchewan.ca/HHR.
For more information, contact: