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Ottawa deducts health transfers due to patient fees

By Brad Perry Mar 13, 2023 | 5:00 AM

Ottawa is withholding some health transfers to Canadian provinces after patients paid for medically necessary services.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will each lose nearly $1.28 million for charges related to diagnostic imaging services.

In addition, New Brunswick will lose nearly $65,000 for insured services at private clinics and access to insured abortion services.

The province currently does not fund abortions unless they take place at one of three hospitals in Moncton or Bathurst.

“Under the Canada Health Act, it is made clear that no Canadian should be paying out of pocket for medically necessary services,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement.

“There has been evidence of residents paying out of pocket to access diagnostic services such as ultrasounds, MRI and CT scans—services that should be accessible at no cost. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

In total, the federal government is withholding more than $82 million from eight provinces. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only two not to be impacted.

Duclos said Ottawa may return the money if provinces develop plans to end the fees and the circumstances leading to them.

“It is critical that access to medically necessary services, whether provided in-person or virtually, remains based on medical need and free of charge,” he said.


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