May 27, 2019 2:03 pm

Halifax woman reaches settlement after being denied breast reduction surgery

Harding maintained the policy was discriminatory.

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A Nova Scotia woman has reached a settlement with the province in a human rights complaint that was launched after she was denied breast reduction surgery.

Halifax resident Melody Harding made a complaint against the province and the Department of Health in August 2017 after she was told she wouldn’t receive coverage under the province’s health insurance plan for the procedure because her body mass index was above the threshold required.

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Harding maintained the policy was discriminatory.

According to a three-page settlement decision by an independent board of inquiry, the province has agreed to remove a requirement that a person have a body mass index of 27 or less to be considered for breast reduction surgery. It will instead assess the medical need for the procedure on a case-by-case basis.

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Body mass index is calculated using a person’s weight and height. According to federal guidelines, someone with a score of 25 or higher is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese.

The Health Department is now required to advise Nova Scotia physicians about the change in policy.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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