Annual gross payments to Canada's MDs exceeds $20B, but rate of growth slowing

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TORONTO - A new report says gross payments for doctors' services in Canada has risen to more than $20 billion, the third largest component of health-care spending after hospitals and drugs.

The report Tuesday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows remuneration to doctors across the country rose by six per cent in 2010–2011. That's a slower growth rate than in the previous two years.

The average Canadian doctor was paid $307,000 last year, although provincially the average ranged from a low of $236,000 in Prince Edward Island to a high of $350,000 in Alberta.

Geoff Ballinger, manager of Health Human Resources for CIHI, says the figures represent an overall average and vary significantly depending on a doctor's specialty.

And Ballinger says it's important to note that the figures are gross amounts, from which many physicians must pay office overhead costs such as rent, nurses' salaries, taxes and practice insurance.

About 70 per cent of payments to doctors are fee-for-service billings, with family practitioners receiving an average of $40 per service and specialists $74.

CIHI says doctors country-wide delivered more than 245 million services — from annual physicals and diagnostic tests to surgical procedures — that were paid for through fee-for-service billings.

Organizations: Health Human Resources for CIHI, Canadian Institute for Health Information

Geographic location: Canada, TORONTO, Prince Edward Island Alberta

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