The Rural Continuing Medical Education (RCME) Community Program provides funding and resources to groups of physicians, including generalists and specialists, who live and deliver care in Rural Subsidiary Agreement (RSA) communities. By addressing physicians’ collective learning needs—giving them more control over learning activities, reducing funding challenges, and improving relationships amongst health system partners—the Program improves the capacity of local healthcare systems. The provincial staffing model includes liaisons who are embedded in regional health authorities and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC to help rural communities develop local RCME models and collective learning strategies.
Rural Programs Liaisons are also an important component of the RCME Community Program—and other rural programs. In addition to assisting with the RCME Community Program, they seek additional opportunities to support rural programs of benefit to rural doctors and other providers. Through engagement and consultation with rural physicians and medical leaders, they build relationships, increase communication, and identify opportunities for community support and planning for the vast portfolio of rural programs. Similar to the RCME Liaisons, the Rural Programs Liaisons, who are located in several locations around the province, sits in a co-reporting relationship with health authorities and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc), and are accountable to the health authorities and Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues.
“Our hope is to have a more holistic learning plan, so physicians look after more than just their Medical Expert role to become healthier and higher functioning humans. Our job as an RCME Liaison is to encourage physicians to tap into all of their CanMed roles rather than focusing on Medical Expert.”
Hosted virtual and in-person CME/CPD activities
The RCME Community Program has had a successful year of hosting virtual and in-person CME/CPD activities. This was accomplished by promoting and hosting multi-community education, and funding the supports and structures required to execute local RCME models.
The program continues to draw on the reverted funds allocated to RSA communities bringing the total amount held in community accounts down to $5,051,206 from $5,407,444. This has resulted in the total being reduced by $356,238 when compared to this time last year. The team continues to promote innovative ways to execute local learning opportunities across their communities.
Expanded Rural Programs Liaison positions within Regional Health Authorities
Rural Programs Liaisons positions have been in place within Regional Health Authorities since 2021 and the team continues to take on additional opportunities to support rural programs that benefit rural physicians. Over the course of the fiscal year, the Rural Programs Liaison positions continued to expand their roles within the Health Authority teams. In addition to assisting with the RCME Community Program, the administration of the Northern Isolation and Travel Assistance Outreach Program (NITAOP) and the Rural Retention Program (RRP) Flat Fee administration has been taken on in each of the regions.
The team has continued to build relationships with rural physicians and communities and has become a point of contact at the Health Authority for Rural Physicians, Ministry of Health Staff, and other stakeholders. Additionally, the team has identified opportunities to offer enhanced support to the physician count process and will continue to streamline the internal procedures to improve the flow of funding.
Onboarded seven new communities
The team successfully brought onboard an additional seven RSA communities into the program bringing the total number of implemented communities to 101 out of the 103 that are eligible. Rural communities are being supported to develop local models of RCME, access funding, and are being supported by our team of skilled individuals to execute sound education strategies.
Explore the Numbers
in total are participants in the RCME Community Program.
15 Grants awarded
through the Specialist, Sub-specialty, Indigenous and Funding for Innovation (SPIFI) grant.
7 RSA communities
were successfully brought onboard and into the program during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Plans for the Future
In the coming year, the RCME Community Program will continue building relationships with rural doctors and continue to search for opportunities for alignment with the Rural Programs Liaison team. An area of focus in the coming year will be to collaborate with work on the Northern & Isolation Travel Assistance Outreach Program. Whenever possible, specialist outreach visits should be coordinated with local Continuing Medical Education sessions to maximize the value of specialist outreach visits.
Lead, Rural CME Community Program | Lead, Research, Evaluation & Quality Improvement
Director | Lead, Rural Programs Liaisons
Provincial Manager RCME and Rural Programs
Rural CME Liaison, Interior Region
Rural CME Liaison, Island Region
Rural CME Coordinator, Northern Region
Rural Programs Liaison, Vancouver Coastal Region
Rural Programs Liaison, Interior Region
Rural Programs Liaison, Island Region
Rural Programs Liaison, Northern Region