The BC government is taking action to prevent extra billing by some doctors and private health care clinics.
Health Minster Adrian Dix says sections of the Medicare Protection Act will be brought into force to strengthen the public health care system.
“In British Columbia in recent years, we’ve had an approach, really over a long period of time, of don’t ask — don’t tell, with respect to these issues. And that approach, I think, has to end,” Dix told a news conference.
Dix says the Medical Services Commission can seek a court-ordered injunction to stop the practice of extra billing, which involves charging a patient for health care, that should be provided at no cost.
“It’s simply unacceptable that some people and organizations are breaking health care laws, creating an unfair system for patients, and putting at risk those same patients, by reducing federal funding.”
Dix says in 2015-16, BC lost 16 million dollars in federal funding by not taking action on extra billing.
“Just to put that into context for people, that would pay for 53,000 MRI’s, of course, hip and knee surgeries in the thousands. That’s the money we lost because of what was activity contrary to the law.”
Dix says doctors who extra bill once the changes take effect this fall will face a 10-thousand dollar fine for the first offence, and 20-thousand dollars for the second offence.