OTTAWA — Quebec will be penalized for violating Canadian health care law after its doctors charged patients fees for services covered by the public system, Health Minister Jane Philpott recently told her provincial counterpart.
In a letter dated Sept. 6, Philpott told Gaetan Barrette the incidental fees will be deducted from Ottawa's annual health transfer to the province.
"Deductions in transfer payments will be the immediate step taken by the federal government," she wrote, adding "my primary concern is to see that all overcharging (of patients) is eliminated."
Health Minister Jane Philpott addresses the Canadian Medical Association's General Council 2016, in Vancouver, B.C., on Aug. 23, 2016. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/CP)
Quebec doctors have been charging patients incidental fees for various services covered by the provincial health insurance plan, including pap smears, stitches and injections.
The minister's letter indicated only the fees charged in 2014-15 will be deducted.
Philpott told reporters in Ottawa she didn't want to go into details regarding how much money will be taken from Quebec or why the federal government isn't trying to recoup funds for fees charged before 2014.
Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette speaks during a news conference in Quebec City on Aug. 17, 2016. (Photo: Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
Barrette announced last week that by January 2017 Quebec will no longer permit doctors to charge patients incidental fees associated with medical services covered by the provincial health insurance plan.
He says doctors charged patients roughly $83 million a year in incidental fees.