Registration and Starting a Medical Practice

Chapter 1

Registration and Starting a Medical Practice in BC

Ultimate Guide to Medical Billing for New Doctors in BC


There are many things you need to do after passing your exam, and before starting a medical practice in Canada. There are some dependencies, so below, we’ve created a new medical practice checklist to tackle the requirements for registration in a logical order.

Starting a Practice: Steps to Take

After years of training, we know you’re ready to get started. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need to do in order to start your practice.

  1. Apply for Your Independent Practice License in British Columbia (CPSBC)
  2. Update CMPA Membership to Reflect Independent Practice
  3. Applying for Hospital Privileges
  4. Get an MSP Practitioner Number
  5. Update Your Primary Practice Address
  6. First-time Set-up of MSP Payee/ Data Centre

1. Apply for Your Independent Practice License in British Columbia (CPSBC)

As a BC physician-in-training or resident, you already have a restricted license from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC). To legally practise as an independent physician, you need to be fully licensed from this provincial licensing body. There are different classes of registration – provisional and full – based on requirements established by the CPSBC.

Essentially, there is a 5-digit number (CPSID) that enables you to work independently, diagnose and treat patients, write prescriptions, etc. Having this license also allows you to get an MSP practitioner number.

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2. Update CMPA Membership To Reflect Independent Practice

As a resident, you already subscribe to CMPA-the Canadian Medical Protective Association. As you know, this is the malpractice insurance for which all physicians must sign up when starting a medical practice. Once you get your independent practice license and have both a job and a work address, your options are to:

  • Transition To Practice: When you plan to transition from your postgraduate program to practice, you can find more information on updating your CMPA membership to reflect your new status: changing from TOW 12 to an independent license. The CMPA also offers the option to defer payment of membership fees for up to 6 months; learn more here.
  • Moonlight: If you plan to independently practice outside of your residency or structured fellowship program (whether you are remunerated or not) this is considered moonlighting. More information from the CMPA on changing to TOW code 14.

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3. Apply For Hospital Privileges

Hospital privileges give physicians the authority to perform specific patient care in a specified healthcare facility. They also specify the types of procedures a physician may perform in the hospital. The process for granting, changing and terminating hospital privileges is set out in a Hospital Act Regulation.

Privileges are granted to physicians based on their current medical credentials (to confirm their identity, training, licensure, experience, reputation, and skill). You will need to contact the hospital department that is hiring you for details in obtaining your privileges or visit the new standardized online credentialing and privileging system 

4. Get An MSP Practitioner Number

It’s important to note that you’ll need an MSP practitioner number (billing number), which is different from a CPSID, to submit claims for reimbursement. Getting your MSP billing number typically takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks, and you’ll need your CPSID before you get started.

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  • Determine your billing options:
    • Opted-in: Bill the Medical Services Plan for payment in full (Cannot charge private fee to patient)
    • Opted-out: The practitioner may bill the patient directly in full or partially for the services provided. Patient receives reimbursement for the MSP portion.

Once you are assigned an MSP practitioner number, a payment number (payee number) will also be assigned. A payment number tells MSP where payment should go to. 

The practitioner and payment numbers are usually the same. However, they differ in cases where a practitioner designates another practitioner or a group, such as a clinic or a hospital, to receive that practitioner’s MSP fee-for-service payments.

Tip

  • While you wait for your MSP billing number, you can work and practice billing, but you won’t be able to submit your claims until you have completed all the steps in this chapter.

5. Update Your Information with CPSBC and MSP

If you change your address or telephone number, or if there is a change in your specialty or license status, you must advise MSP so that your records can be updated accordingly. Timely notification of changes enables MSP to provide practitioners with accurate and efficient service and helps prevent unnecessary refusal of claims. 

This is the same as your profile with CPSBC. Updating your profile with CPSBC promptly allows your patients to have access to your new contact information.

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6. First-time Set-up of MSP Payee Number with MDBilling.ca Data Centre

Once you have your payee number, it’s time to connect it with our data centre. The MSP Data Centre is a secure system to connect our software with MSP, allowing access to your claims records via Teleplan

Keep in mind: You cannot submit MSP billings without connecting with a data centre.

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Step 1: Create an account with MDBilling.ca

Step 2: Setup your Teleplan service with MDBilling.ca. Log in to your MDBilling.ca account and proceed with the Teleplan connection. Follow the prompts, and we will submit the necessary forms to MSP on your behalf.