Monthly Archives: September 2018

Vancouver health authority ends contract with private surgery centre over patient-pay issues

September 5, 2018

PAMELA FAYERMAN Updated: August 30, 2018

Vancouver Coastal Health is ending a contract with False Creek Healthcare Centre, and as of next week 115 surgeons and anesthesiologists with privileges at regional public hospitals won’t be able to use the operating rooms at the Vancouver clinic.

Dr. Dean Chittock

Dr. Dean Chittock

A memo to medical staff from a vice-president of Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Dean Chittock, said the health authority “made the decision to repatriate False Creek surgical activity back to the health authorities effective Tuesday, September 4, 2018.”

The change comes a month before new legislation comes into effect imposing harsh penalties on private clinics and physicians where medically necessary services are paid for directly by patients seeking faster treatment. Private clinics have gone to court seeking an injunction to block the bill that will be effective as of Oct. 1. There are dozens of private surgery clinics in B.C. which have always offered three streams of patient service — publicly funded (through health authority contracts), privately funded for expedited service and third-party treatment for agencies like WorkSafeBC and certain patients covered by federal government agencies.

For a few decades, health authorities have been contracting out day surgery cases to private clinics because of over-capacity problems causing long delays in non-emergency, non-urgent surgeries. Last year, Vancouver Coastal Health paid False Creek clinic $1.9 million for a range of operations or other treatments on patients who would otherwise have to wait many months or even years for procedures like hernia repairs. The year before, the private clinic received just under $1 million. In the past three years, Vancouver Coastal Health has contracted with the False Creek clinic for about 3,400 cases.

Other health authorities are not severing contracts with private clinics and health minister Adrian Dix told Postmedia that “a significant role for private surgical clinics” remains, as long as they don’t charge patients for surgeries that are typically publicly funded.  A spokeswoman for Island Health in Victoria said it has contractual arrangements with private surgical facilities “and we have no foreseeable plans to change those contracts.” View Royal Surgical Centre is one of the newest such facilities in B.C. and it has a major contract with Island Health for thousands of surgical cases as well as the provision of colonoscopies. Fraser Health also contracts with private facilities when cases can’t be done quickly enough in public hospitals.

According to sources, the provincial government directed Vancouver Coastal Health to cancel its contract with the False Creek clinic. In a statement, Dix said the False Creek clinic had “issues that it needs to address.” After the NDP was elected last year, audits were done on a few clinics, apparently showing that they were accepting private payments by patients, against rules in the Medicare Protection Act. Read more »

A new physician for Princeton

September 1, 2018

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Dr. Marlin Samuels will be the newest member to the Cascade Medical team. Originally from Paarl in the Western Cape of South Africa, he completed his medical degree at the University of Stellenbosch. Dr. Samuels has experience in rural family medicine and emergency medicine with special interest in internal medicine and infectious disease. Dr. Samuels is an adventurer having worked onboard cruise ships prior to relocating to Canada. He was attracted to Princeton by the surrounding nature and abundance of outdoor activities in the area as well as Princeton’s reputation as an exceptionally kind, caring and welcoming community for new doctors. Dr. Samuels has recently completed the Spring intake of the Practice Ready Assessment Program of BC and will be providing a 3 year return of service in Princeton beginning in late August. We hope that you will warmly welcome Dr. Samuels to our community. 

To get on the waitlist for a family doctor, please stop in at Cascade Medical Centre and fill out our Request for Attachment form and return it to the clinic at your earliest convenience, you can also find a copy on our website at www.cascadeclinic.ca.

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