Essentially, Mayor Ackerman has asked City Council to approve $52,600 for the consulting firm Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) to create a report outlining different options in offsetting cost associated with running a medical clinic.
“There was conversation around some of the financial issues that are facing our physicians; some of the cost of operating a clinic, if we were to move forward with a community clinic, what would the cost of operating that be?” Mayor Ackerman explained of the discussion during one of the committee’s most recent meetings.
If council were to approve the allocation of $52,600 to MNP, they would be engaging in a process known as sole sourcing; as they would not consider any other bids but rather award this responsibility to the consultation firm from which the idea was originally proposed.
“To go with a sole sourcing is contrary to our policy around purchasing. The doctors, because they worked with MNP, are ok with using MNP for having the conversation around the finance,” Mayor Ackerman said.
Economic Development Officer, Moira Green explains how physicians are currently operating under the fee-for-service business model.
“We need to review the current business model and then we need to look at what our options are for business models under the Alternative Payment Program,” Green said.
According to the province, whose mandate is responsible for such services, the objective of the Alternative Payments Program is to secure sufficient access to care in situations where fee-for-service arrangements may not guarantee physicians the financial support or stability to be able to provide needed care.
However, Green says the outcome of such a program can vary widely.
“What it might look like is a private company building an appropriate building and leasing it to Northern Health… It might look like our current physician-owned businesses offering a space like that; it might look like something else,” Green explained.
When and if council approves this request, and finds the money in the city’s budget during the next meeting on December 8, MNP will conduct the investigation, create a report outlining their findings and recommendations, and later share that information with the Long-term Healthcare Solution Committee.
The committee is comprised of many stakeholders, including but not limited to the City of Fort St. John, Northern Health, the PRRD, Division of Family Practises, MLA Pat Pimm, and the District of Taylor to name a few.