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CFPC highlights flaws with for-profit virtual care services


(Mississauga, ON) The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) has released Buying Access Will Cost You: The Unintended Consequences of For-Profit Virtual Care, a report that outlines how paid-access virtual care presents a problematic approach to health care delivery.

Virtual care can improve access to care and continuity for patients if used as part of a long-term relationship with a regular provider. In contrast, paid-access virtual models are fundamentally designed to maximize profits, which may cause health outcomes to suffer.

Family practices play a crucial role in providing continuous, comprehensive care for people in Canada. Our health care system functions best when it supports continuous, patient-centred care, close to home with a regular provider who knows you.

Shortfalls with paid-access virtual care can include:
  • Prioritizing profits over patient health
  • Duplicating services and increasing overall health system costs without necessarily improving care
  • Undermining the continuity of care provided by family physicians, resulting in reduced quality of care
  • Presenting inequitable barriers to access for patients
“Access to high-quality, comprehensive, and continuous care delivered close to home by a group of providers who know you is a foundational component of an effective health care system,” says the CFPC’s Executive Director and CEO Francine Lemire, MD CM, CCFP, FCFP, CAE, ICD.D. “Episodic virtual care provided by for-profit companies may jeopardize our health care system, fragment patient care, and further undermine equity of access. Family practices need support in providing services through virtual means and integrating this with other aspects of provision of care. Strengthening publicly funded virtual care and improved investments in primary care are the key elements to sustaining a robust and equitable system in Canada.”

Investing in team-based primary care, as outlined in the Patient’s Medical Home[1] vision, is linked to improved quality of care, lower costs to the health care system, and improved health outcomes. The CFPC calls on the federal government to establish virtual care national standards to ensure Canada’s health care system is strengthened.

About the College of Family Physicians of Canada

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is the professional organization that represents more than 42,000 members across the country. The College establishes the standards for and accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools. It reviews and certifies continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licensing requirements. The CFPC provides high-quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of the specialty of family medicine, family physicians, and the patients they serve.


Susan Monic
Manager, Communications
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Tel: 905-629-0900, ext. 432
Email: [email protected]

1 In the CFPC’s PMH vision, every family practice across Canada offers the medical care that Canadians want — readily accessible, centered on the patients’ needs, provided throughout every stage of life, and seamlessly integrated with other services in the health care system and the community

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