B.C. Liberals must hold private health clinics accountable for double-billing

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VICTORIA – The B.C. government must hold health clinics that unlawfully double-bill patients to account, say B.C.’s New Democrats.

“Today the B.C. Health Coalition along with other groups brought forward important issues related to the unlawful billing that has been taking place at Dr. Brian Day’s health clinics,” said New Democrat health spokesperson Judy Darcy.

“The government must make it clear that double-billing of B.C. patients will not be tolerated and those found to be breaking the law will be held accountable. To understand the full extent of unlawful billing and to hold all those responsible accountable, the government should conduct a thorough audit of all of Dr. Day’s clinics.”

Darcy was commenting today on the issues brought forward by the B.C. Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare on the charter challenge to B.C.’s Medicare Protection Act that argues patients should be able to pay out-of-pocket for health care in private clinics.

Darcy noted that the government needs to focus on innovating B.C.’s public system and coming up with solutions that benefit every British Columbian, not just a select few who can afford to pay more.

“I think it’s clear from cases like we see with the plaintiffs in Dr. Day’s case that our medical system is far from perfect. Whether people are being treated in hospital hallways in Surrey or forced to wait hours for an ambulance in a rural community, the signs are there that our system is burdened.

“But I don’t think the best answer is to set up for-profit clinics that only serve the minority who can afford it. Whether through specialized clinics, coordinated wait lists or better use of our existing capacity, it’s time for the government to start innovating the system we have.”