The Montreal Community Health Clinic is concerned about incidental costs

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A year after Quebec abolished ancillary health fees, patients continue to pay for certain tests and administrative services, says a community health organization.

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“Always and again, there are services that are not covered, and we are fighting for an accessible and universal public plan,” community organizer Stéphane Defoy said on Sunday.

Clinique communautaire Pointe St-Charles originally set up an online registry in 2015 collecting fee data from more than 700 patients before Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette banned doctors from billing fees. medical services covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), the provincial public health insurance plan.

On Sunday, the clinic’s Fight for Health committee unveiled recent data collected from 90 Montreal patients in 2017. Compared to the preliminary data, the organization noted an increase in administrative costs and expenses billed for eye care, especially for exams not covered by the RAMQ. According to the clinic’s survey, in half of the cases, these exams cost patients more than $100.

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“I think there is a real shift in exorbitant billing. And it is often the elderly who are undergoing an ophthalmological examination. Patients are extremely vulnerable to any proposal for a medical examination,” said Élise Mercier-Gouin of the Clinic’s Community Health Committee.

But since the ban began, fees at medical clinics for drugs and anesthetic agents have all but disappeared, the organization said. Although it is “very satisfied” with the abolition of incidental expenses, the organization encourages the government to go further.

Among other things, the group recommends better control of administrative costs and forcing clinics to stop charging patients to complete government forms. The clinic also suggested RAMQ cover more eye exams to prevent patients from paying for them out of pocket.

Barrette’s ban on additional fees that patients had to pay out of pocket went into effect on January 26, 2017. The ban applied to most services and materials used in procedures performed outside of hospital, including colonoscopies, mammograms, childhood vaccinations and eye drops. exams.

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