1 October 2019

For Immediate Release

FREDERICTON, NB – The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce applauds the recent announcement by Health Minister Ted Flemming that the province is moving to eliminate the billing number system for physicians.

“The Fredericton chamber has advocated for the elimination of the billing number system for physicians through several successive governments, most recently with the current government when Minister Flemming received the Health portfolio again last fall,” said Krista Ross, Fredericton Chamber CEO. “The system is not used in any other province in Canada and was not achieving its intended results as evidenced by the lack of access to primary health throughout the province.”

The chamber launched its Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee in 2008 in response to members’ concerns that difficulty getting a family doctor was becoming an issue for their businesses – particularly as it related to attracting employees. Since that time, demonstrating the importance of physician recruitment efforts to the business community, the chamber committee has added events to welcome new medical residents to the city, an annual physician appreciation event and a practice management training series that provides medical residents with ‘business basics’ information in advance of opening a private practice.

“We have worked closely with partners such as the New Brunswick Medical Society, Horizon Health and the Department of Health since our committee was launched a decade ago and it quickly became apparent to us that the billing number system was an impediment to attracting physicians to the province and placing our current physicians where they were needed most at any one time,” added Ross. “We are quite pleased to see the government moving forward with this decision which will provide modernization and flexibility to the system.”

The elimination of billing numbers is one of several major decisions that the chamber has supported in the health system over the past several years.

“The introduction of Family Medicine Teams, community health clinics and the elimination of billing numbers will have an accumulative affect overtime to improve access to primary care,” added Ross. “We have consistently heard from long-term physicians, medical residents and even medical students that these are the types of practices that newer physicians are attracted to, so we encourage the government to continue with policy decisions that will make New Brunswick the location of choice for the medical profession.”

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The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, a nationally accredited organization with nearly 1,000 members, is an active business organization engaged in policy development and advocacy that affects the competitiveness of our members and the Canadian business environment. The Chamber’s vision is ‘Stronger Community Through Business Prosperity’. 

Contact: Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce – (506) 458-8006

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