Dr Johann van Eeden: How the new payment model is supporting patients and doctors

Jul 6, 2023

Switching over to the new Longitudinal Family Physician (LFP) Payment Model, with its simplified billing and improved compensation, has benefited his patients and improved his quality of life, says Dr Johann van Eeden, a family physician operating a solo practice in Vancouver since 1999.

“So far, I like it a lot,” he says. “It’s working out really well. Since we don’t have to comply with certain required visit durations, as we had to do for some fee-for-service billing codes (e.g. counselling and complex disease management), I can now do these more expeditiously since I know my patients well. That opens up more time for other patients.”

Before joining the new payment model, Dr van Eeden would typically finish clinic, go home, have a coffee, and do more work until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.

“Anything I could do to reduce my hours of working and improve my quality of life would be worth trying,” he recalls.

Dr van Eeden read about the new LFP model on the BC Family Doctors (login required) and Doctors of BC (login required) websites, listened to webinars, and used the online calculator to determine its impact on his practice, which has between 1800-1900 patients. He decided to try the LFP model, noting that physicians are allowed to leave it if they don’t like it.

The new billing schedule is a lot easier, which makes processing invoices a lot easier with fewer mistakes or rejections coming back, notes Dr van Eeden. Previously, he would spend a lot of time during the day doing billing.

“It’s more quality of life for me now,” says Dr van Eeden. “I can exercise more. The admin work is less. I don’t have as much billing to do, and that takes a lot less time. I go home earlier. I have more time for family. That will reduce and prevent burnout for a lot of physicians.”

“If I review labs on the weekend, now I can charge for it,” he says. He appreciates being rewarded for time. “It makes me feel more valued. It increases job satisfaction and overall quality of life.”

Dr van Eeden is looking forward to seeing the evaluation data after a year of the LFP model.

“I would like to see how many people are not burnt out, how many students chose family practice, if more people in BC have family doctors now,” he says. “My feeling is that’s likely to happen. If fewer physicians burn out, then more patients will have family doctors.”

“I love what I do, and medicine will always be a challenging profession,” says Dr van Eeden. “Feeling more rewarded and healthier doing it definitely can’t hurt so I can see myself going the distance.”