Physician Practice in Ontario Nursing Homes: Defining Physician Commitment



      To characterize the practice profile of nursing home (NH) physicians in Ontario, Canada.


      Population-based cross-sectional study.

      Setting and Participants

      A total of 1527 most responsible physicians (MRPs) across 626 NHs in Ontario, Canada, for the calendar year, 2017.


      We examined physician services within all publicly regulated and funded NH facilities. Descriptive summaries were generated to characterize MRPs and their practice patterns by the physician's primary practice location, the NH facility size, and the proportion of physician billings that occurred within NHs. Community sizes were classified into quintiles based on population size and assigned as urban or rural. The number of ministry-designated NH beds were assessed by quintiles to examine physician services by facility size. We also assessed the proportion of physician billings within NHs by quintiles.


      MRPs tended to be older, male, and practice family medicine. The majority of MRPs practiced in communities with populations exceeding 100,000 residents, although physicians with greater NH billings tended to practice in rural locations. The mean number of NH residents that a physician was MRP for was positively associated with the community size. Physicians provided care for more NH residents than they were assigned most responsible. Fifty-one percent of physicians were MRP for 90% of all NH residents.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Our work provides an exemplar for characterizing physician commitment in NHs, using 2 approaches, according to the NH specialist model. We demonstrated the medical practice characteristics, locations, and billing patterns of physicians within Ontario NHs. Future work can investigate the association between physician commitment and the quality of care provided to NH residents. A greater understanding of physician commitment may lead to the development of quality metrics based on physician practice patterns.


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