B.C. Health Coalition report says 'explosion' of for-profit clinics jeopardizing equality and fairness of the health care system.
Vancouver (29 Sept. 2010) - The Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE) is drawing attention to new evidence that private clinics in the province are violating the Canada Health Act.
"New research conducted by the BC Health Coalition (BCHC) has revealed evidence that for-profit clinics across the province continue to openly charge patients additional fees to jump the queue for health services already covered by Medicare," the union says.
The Health Sciences Association is a BCHC member.
A report by the coalition - Eroding Public Medicare: Update on for-profit health care in BC - shows that the problem has worsened since a previous report was issued two years ago and that an "explosion of private for-profit health facilities across the country" is jeopardizing the equality and fairness of the health care system.
“This latest report confirms that Health Minister Falcon must take a leadership role in protecting British Columbians from private investors who are charging unlawful user fees and billing patients for health services already covered by Medicare,” says coalition co-chair Rachel Tutte.
She noted that the need for action has also been made clear by a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling confirming that the province's medical services commission has the authority to audit for-profit clinics in B.C.
This includes the Dr. Brian Day’s Cambie Surgery Centre. Cambie is the largest for-profit clinic in B.C. and is leading a legal attack on laws that protect patients from being charged user fees for publicly insured, medically necessary health care.
The new coalition report also comes in advance of the convention of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) next week when delegates will debate a resolution calling for a provincial moratorium.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE