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B.C. doctors say pay boost for IUD insertions will reduce patient pain, waitlists

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Women’s health physicians in B.C. say patients are receiving better care due to compensation changes around intrauterine device insertions.

The health ministry said it’s paying doctors more to insert IUDs, increasing the fee from $46.79 to $55.22. On top of that, doctors can now bill the province $25 when they use a cervical anaesthetic, which makes the procedure less painful.

“I was really happy because it meant that I can have more ability to hire more doctors and therefore offer more spots to patients in the community and decrease our waitlists,” said Dr. Renée Hall, co-medical director at Willow Clinic in Vancouver.

Hall said she has hired four physicians since the new fees were introduced on Dec. 1, 2023.

In a CTV News story published in November, Hall and Nanaimo physician Dr. Ana Armas Enriquez said some doctors don’t offer the cervical anaesthetic to patients due to the cost.

“We should all be offered the opportunity to have a cervical block and reduce the pain by 70 to 80 per cent,” said Armas Enriquez, director of Women’s Vita Medical Clinic.

“No longer do we have to donate that money to do it.”

The health ministry made the changes a few weeks after CTV’s story aired, but doctors had been advocating for compensation changes well before that.

“IUD providers around the province sent letters to BC Family Doctors saying, ‘It’s really difficult for us to cover costs for IUD insertions,’" Hall said.

BC Family Doctors and the province listened.

“Having that opportunity to have a voice when decisions are being made around women’s health and what might be best and what might be useful for those of us practising in women’s health is a really good step in the right direction,” Hall said.

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