The Yukon government and Yukon Medical Association have launched an online service to randomly match Yukoners living in the Whitehorse area with available family doctors.
The government announced the service, dubbed “Find a Family Doctor,” in a press release Nov. 13.
Creating such a service was among the tenets of a five-year, $6.9 million agreement reached by the Yukon government and Yukon Medical Association in 2017. It was originally anticipated to be launched in September 2018.
To get matched with an available physician, Whitehorse-area residents simply need to fill out a form on the Yukon government’s website with their Yukon Health Care Insurance Plan number, birthdate and full name.
The form has an option to add family members who reside at the same address so that families are all matched to the same doctor.
According to the Yukon government’s website, the information will be used by the Department of Health and Social Services’ insured health services branch to validate applicants’ eligibility, randomly match them with a doctor who’s signed up to be part of the program and notify applicants of a match.
“Statistical and non-identifiable data will be used to help us evaluate the service. We may share it with our partners,” the website says.
When a match occurs, the Yukon government will notify both the applicant and doctor with letters in the mail. Although the process is online-based until that point, Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Jodie Thomson said in an email that sending physical mail allows the department to verify the address on applicants’ health care cards.
Five physicians have signed up to be part of the service so far, according to Thomson, and the department expects more to sign up “as we move forward.”
Applicants will not be able to choose doctors based on any criteria, including a physician’s age, gender, clinic location or language, although they will have the option to reject a match and try the process again to find another doctor or clinic.
Thomson said that the department does not have any up-to-date figures on how many Yukoners are currently without a family doctor.
The Yukon government had previously created a doctorless patient registry in 2012; by the time it closed in September of the following year, more than 1,800 Yukoners had registered themselves as being without a family physician.
Thomson wrote that the current matching service is not tied with that registry as the information “is seven years old and likely no longer applicable.”
The Find a Family Doctor service can be accessed at https://ihs.gov.yk.ca/find-a-family-doctor/
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org