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Patients claim ‘unlawful and illegal’ charges for medically necessary services in Brampton and across Ontario

Posted: April 16, 2024

(April 15, 2024) By: Ryan Rumbolt, InSauga

Health care advocates are speaking out after patients say they’ve been charged extra fees, denied procedures and tricked into paying for add-ons at clinics in Brampton and across Ontario.

The news comes from the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), which says it has gathered reports of more than 100 patients in Ontario who say they’ve been charged out-of-pocket fees at for-profit clinics.

Some of the cases include patients being denied procedure information or manipulated into paying for “unnecessary add-ons,” or being threatened with extremely long wait times at “for-profit surgical and diagnostic clinics.”

“The extra charges for medically necessary services are not only unlawful and illegal under Ontario’s and Canada’s Public Medicare protection laws, but they impose significant financial strain on patients,” the OHC said in a release.

The province announced in January it was making changes to allow private for-profit and not-for-profit clinics to conduct surgeries covered under Ontario’s insurance plan, including cataract surgeries, MRI and CT scans, and knee and hip replacements.

But health care watchdogs have sounded the alarm over the move, saying the transfer of resources away from public hospitals to for-profit clinics comes at a cost to patients and can lead to health care services loss in local communities.

The report will include 18 case studies of patients “threatened with extremely long wait times, denied vital procedure information, and coerced or manipulated into paying for unnecessary add-ons at for-profit surgical and diagnostic clinics,” the OHC says.

The coalition is holding four and will be releasing the report at rallies on Wednesday, including one at Brampton Civic Hospital at 1 p.m. Other press conferences will also be held in Toronto, London and Waterloo.

A recent report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) of Ontario found that the province had the lowest per capita health care spending in Canada at $4,889 per person.

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