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Federal Health Minister vows to end double billing by doctors, especially in British Columbia

Medical Staff in Operating Room.
Medical Staff in Operating Room. File Image

The double-billing debate is back on in British Columbia, after an investigation by Globe and Mail reporter Kathy Tomlinson.

“That’s something that Cambie was challenged on,” Tomlin told CKNW’s Simi Sara on the Jon McComb Show

“And it came back and said, ‘OK, we’re not going to do that anymore, we will just bill patients privately.’ That’s also what False Creek says. However, we have examples of specific doctors and cases where they are still, as of this year at Cambie, billing the Province and the patient at the same time.”

LISTEN: Kathy Tomlinson discusses double-billing among doctors

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The Cambie Surgical Centre and B.C. government are embroiled in a legal fight that’s been going on for almost a decade.

READ MORE: B.C. wait times grow for third year in a row

The federal health minister is vowing to stop illegal billing.

Jane Philpott says that more provinces are being audited to make sure they’re complying with the Act.

She says she’s raised concerns with several provincial counterparts following an audit done in Quebec that showed people were being charged accessory fees in contravention of the Canada Health Act.

“Unfortunately, British Columbia hasn’t had a proper audit for 10 years so we will have those discussions,” Phillpot said.

However, it remains unclear when those discussions will actually take place.

“This is a conversation that I’ve had with the previous [provincial] health minister, and as soon as there’s a new health minister in place, I will continue the conversation,” Philpott said.

In the meantime, if patients are concerned about how they’re being charged Philpott advises them to report potential violations by calling their local health insurance office, or by reporting them online the provincial website.

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