Exclusive: Multiple private clinics closing in ten days
Published Monday, January 16, 2017 5:49PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 17, 2017 10:25AM EST
Several doctors who perform colonoscopy exams in private clinics say they will no longer provide those those services after January 25.
That is the final day the Health Minister will allow doctors to charge patients "accessory fees" for services such as colonoscopies.
At least four clinics in the Montreal area that specialize in colonoscopy exams have already closed or are going to opt out of Medicare.
At least one more, the Gastroenterology Centre in the West Island, is planning to close in the next ten days.
Those doctors, who perform well over 3,000 endoscopic exams each year, said unless they can charge extra fees for the use of equipment, staff, and consumable supplies, they cannot afford to operate.
One doctor said he will continue to work, but because he does not have operating privileges in any local hospitals he will have to opt out of Medicare and go completely private, charging his patients the full price for each procedure.
Another specialist who works part-time at a private clinic said he will file paperwork to opt-out and opt-in of Medicare in order to keep functioning according to his current schedule.
But Dr. Anand Sahai said if that becomes too difficult, he will close his private clinic.
The closure of private clinics means thousands of patients will have no choice but to have endoscopies performed in hospitals.
The Jewish General and the MUHC are working to organize and shorten waiting lists by triaging patients and eliminating double bookings.
In late November Health Minister Gaetan Barrette announced funding for certain hospitals so they could perform an additional 25,000 colonoscopies in 2017 to help clear lists.