Background: The payment system is pivotal in implementing policies in the health sector. Equitable access to healthcare
is the main principle of the payment system.
Aims: This study aimed to investigate aspects of the payment system in the urban family physician programme (FPP) in
the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Methods: This was a qualitative study. We obtained data from key informants and both formal and grey literature. We
used content analysis for data analysis.
Results: A range of concepts was explored related to the payment system of the FPP. By merging similar expressions, we
categorized the findings into four main themes including: payment method, payment criteria and incentives, payment
process and amount of payment.
Conclusions: FPP is required to follow convenient implementation methods. The mechanisms of payment in the health
sector are weak and have no transparency. A blurred combination of criteria makes an unclear process for determining
the payment mechanisms. It is recommended that the opinions of key stakeholders be taken into consideration prior to
developing payment mechanisms and financial incentives.
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