FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Auditor Calls Quebec Extra Billing Out of Control
Doctors Call on Health Minister Jane Philpott to End Illegal Billing Practices in Quebec
TORONTO (May 12, 2016) – Extra-billing in Quebec medical clinics are “excessive” says Auditor General Guylaine Leclerc, but Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has yet to act on calls to enforce the Canada Health Act and bring them under control.
Leclerc tabled her Spring 2016 report yesterday in the National Assembly, which focused on the billing practices of medical clinics patients for services already covered by provincial insurance, or extra billing. According to the audit’s findings, neither the Ministry of Health (MSSS) nor Quebec’s health insurance board (RAMQ) are providing sufficient guidance and oversight with clinics and their billing practices.
Leclerc failed to recognize extra-billing prohibits equitable access to health care as well as violates sections 18 to 21 of the Canada Health Act.
“Charging fees to patients for services covered by Quebec’s provincial insurance hurts everyone,” said Dr. Monika Dutt, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “They deter people from seeking care, make health outcomes worse and in the end, drive up the costs as people get sicker before seeking treatment. Extra-billing is also not allowed under the Canada Health Act.”
In March, Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) asked the Honourable Jane Philpott, Canada’s Minister of Health, to defend and enforce the Canada Health Act against contraventions in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario as well as Quebec. CDM reiterated their concerns at May 3 press conference in Montreal hosted by FADOQ, a leading seniors’ organization in Quebec, that is seeking a writ of mandamus from the Federal Court to compel the Minister of Health to enforce the Act in the province.
“As physicians, our organization’s goal is to improve Medicare, which will not happen if the provincial and federal governments continue to ignore the problem of extra-billing,” Dutt continued. “CDM calls on the federal government to protect public Medicare in Quebec and across Canada by applying the penalties prescribed in the Act against extra billing.”
Canadian Doctors for Medicare provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. We advocate for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.
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