Healthcare advocates rally against private healthcare and alleged over-billing

BC healthcare advocates rally against private healthcare outside the Cambie Surgical Clinic on Sept. 29, 2014. Chris Allard | Global News

VANCOUVER — Doctors and B.C. public healthcare advocates gathered outside the Cambie Surgery Clinic in Vancouver this morning — calling for an end to alleged extra billing at private medical clinics.

The clinic is owned by well-known orthopedic surgeon and former Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Brian Day, who also owns the Specialist Referral Clinic. Day is currently suing the provincial government over patient access to private healthcare in B.C.

“Eliminating queues saves the system money,” Day said in an earlier interview. “So the public health system will have a lot more money in it because people deteriorate while they wait.”

READ MORE: B.C. Supreme Court to hear a major case on the right to private health care

Canadian doctors for Medicare and the BC Health Coalition have intervener status in the court case. The two groups are urging the government to take action on an audit, which revealed alleged extra billing at two of Day’s clinics.

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“Dr. Day’s clinics have been operating since 1996 — this means that his clinics may have overcharged patients and the BC government tens of millions of dollars,” Edith Machattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair said.

“Yet there has been no restitution for patients, no extensive audit to fully expose the extent of overbilling and no promise for Brian Day’s clinics for stop breaking the law.”

In France, throughout Europe and in countries with universal health care, patients have the right to use their tax dollars and personal funds to buy procedures at private clinics.

The competition between public and private hospitals has eliminated or drastically shortened wait lists.

~ with files from Yuliya Talmazan

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