For immediate release
(Unceded Coast Salish Territories - Vancouver, BC) On Friday, July 6th, Brian Day’s private, for-profit clinic Cambie Surgeries filed an injunction application to stop the province’s enforcement law against extra-billing, the Medicare Protection Amendment Act (Bill 92), from coming into force on October 1st, 2018. In addition to the increased enforcement measures, the province committed to completing thousands of more surgeries and diagnostic tests in the public system in order to alleviate wait times.
“This injunction application is an attempt by private clinics to continue to charge patients unlawful fees and get away with it. BC has the second highest rate of unlawful medical billing in the country and for years the province did little to protect patients. Now the province is stepping in to stand up for patients, and the clinics don’t like it,” says Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition Co-Chair.
“Doctors negotiate fees for their services with the government and these fees are set to cover all the costs of providing a service such as overhead costs,” continued MacHattie. “Charging extra for a service already covered under MSP is simply profiting off patients.”
Extra-billing is an unlawful practice where doctors or private clinics charge a patient for a health care service over the contracted rate. This is a violation of both the Canada Health Act and the BC Medicare Protection Act. The failure to stop extra-billing in the past has cost B.C. more than $15.9 million in federal health care funding.
“Day’s side says we need to preserve the status quo of unlawful billing. But where has the status quo gotten us? It’s no coincidence that BC has one of the highest numbers of private clinics in the country and now waits are among the longest in the country. Clearly, the status quo isn’t working,” says Rick Turner, BC Health Coalition Co-Chair.
“The unlawful practice of extra-billing takes advantage of patients in need, goes against the heart of public health care, and disrupts the public health care system,” concludes Turner.
Nathanel Lowe, BC Health Coalition Organizer, [email protected], (604) 349-9079 (cell)