VANCOUVER – Mr. Doug Blackie and Dr. Edward Marquis will be co-leading RCCbc’s review of the Rural Retention Program (RRP), including an assessment of the community points system used to allocate medical benefits and funding to BC’s rural physicians and rural communities. They began working on this project on August 8, 2018. The initiative is anticipated to take two and half years to complete.
In November 2017, the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) – a joint collaboration between the BC government and the Doctors of BC – decided to freeze the isolation points ratings of BC’s Rural Subsidiary Agreement (RSA) communities to facilitate a comprehensive review of the Rural Retention Program. The Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) was tasked with designing and implementing the review, and will be examining how effectively the current system is meeting both healthcare system requirements as well as physician expectations. Impacts of the RRP on recruitment and retention will also be examined.
Blackie, formerly Director, Physician Workforce Development with the BC Ministry of Health, and Marquis, a full-service family physician practicing in Prince George, were selected by RCCbc to lead the review. Blackie has extensive experience supporting and sustaining rural health services at the community, regional and the provincial level including seven years serving on the JSC, while Marquis has served as a Doctors of BC representative at the JSC table for the past 13 years and currently chairs the Doctors of BC Rural Issues Committee. Both are familiar with the Rural Retention Program and the current community points system, and are well positioned to connect with the numerous stakeholders – rural and regional physicians, rural communities, the Ministry of Health, Doctors of BC, and health authorities – to complete this extensive review.
Blackie and Marquis are tasked with evaluating the current capacity of the RRP to meet policy expectations, Ministry of Health policy directions, and physician requirements. Working in collaboration with RCCbc staff, Black and Marquis will make recommendations, identify resource implications, and suggest change management strategies to improve the RRP for the benefit of all.
The Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) is a joint collaboration between the BC Government and the Doctors of BC that provides policy oversight as well as funding for rural physician programs.