Virtual Visit Changes Extended Again
Earlier this spring, we sent you a note about some changes to the temporary virtual care tariffs negotiated during the pandemic, specifically concerning comprehensive virtual visits (tariffs 8442 and 8447). After some feedback from physicians, this decision was paused for further review until July 4, 2023. This email serves as notice that this pause will continue until July 31, 2023.
Both Manitoba Health and Doctors Manitoba have received helpful feedback from physicians, and we are working to incorporate it into the permanent solution for virtual care tariffs going forward. Good progress is being made in this negotiation, but more time is needed to complete the task. As such, the existing temporary virtual visits tariffs that have been in place during the pandemic will continue until July 31, 2023, to minimize disruption as we come to an agreement on a permanent path forward.
Our advice on virtual visits
Virtual visits were introduced during the pandemic across Canada, and generally at the equivalent rate to in-person visits. Most provinces have since introduced permanent virtual visit remuneration structures in which virtual visits are paid at a reduced rate or an equivalent rate to in-person care, but not more. In some cases, provinces pay a lower rate for virtual visits when care is episodic or walk-in in nature, and a full rate a virtual visit is delivered to an established patient. You can see our summary here of provincial trends.
Seeing this trend across Canada, it is no surprise to us that Manitoba Health would pursue changes to the existing pandemic virtual visit rates. Our primary focus has been on protecting virtual visits and pushing for a permanent solution that is optimal for all physicians and the patients they serve as part of the Master Agreement negotiations.
Physicians who have primarily used a comprehensive virtual assessment rather than a regular virtual visit are encouraged to carefully review the rules and their practice to assess if a change is required. Among family physicians generally, regular virtual visits (8321) are used nearly nine times more often than a comprehensive virtual assessment (8442). Comprehensive virtual assessments have the same tariff requirements as a complete in-person exam, including a full patient history. As we communicated in February:“Based on the Manitoba Health tariff rules and feedback from physicians, for most episodic primary care encounters we would anticipate a virtual visit (tariff 8321) being the appropriate claim most of the time rather than a comprehensive virtual assessment.”
Please continue to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help us understand how this change would affect your practice. We also want to know how changes adopted in other provinces would affect your practice. You can read our summary of these changes here.