January 25, 2018 7:17 pm
Updated: January 25, 2018 7:19 pm

Nova Scotia health minister refuses ‘quick fix’ for abortion pill payment issue

The provincial government announced that women with a valid health card and prescription will receive Mifegymiso, commonly known as the abortion pill, at no cost.

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Nova Scotia’s health minister says he won’t step in to fix a payment issue that’s stopping doctors in the province from prescribing the abortion pill.

Randy Delorey says physicians have requested a new billing code to prescribe Mifegymiso, a publicly funded two-drug combination used to terminate an early pregnancy.

READ: Nova Scotia women will get free access to abortion pill Mifegymiso

He says the province’s fee committee – made up of representatives of Doctors Nova Scotia, physicians and the department – has expedited the review of an application for a specific code for prescribing the abortion pill.

Although it’s unclear when the review will take place, Delorey says he won’t bring in an interim billing code for overseeing an abortion using pills.

He says it’s more important to have sustainable solutions in health care rather than “quick fixes.”

WATCH: Trudeau says anti-abortion efforts out of sync with Canadian society

Delorey adds that doctors can currently prescribe Mifegymiso and bill for it under an existing code that pays doctors for discussing the risks and benefits of any new drug with a patient.

However, physicians have said the existing billing structure doesn’t adequately compensate them for the time involved with counselling patients, providing education about options, and ordering multiple tests before prescribing Mifegymiso.

The outcome is that most women in Nova Scotia currently cannot access the abortion pill, despite the provincial government’s decision to fund Mifegymiso last fall.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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