Law to allow private purchase of CT scans is ‘troubling’: Opposition
Saskatchewan’s move to allow patients to buy their own CT scans has the Opposition raising concerns, calling it a slippery slope to more privatized health.
Legislation on the matter was tabled Wednesday. The proposed law would allow a patient to pay for a CT scan —
so long as the private clinic offering the service does a second scan for someone on a public wait list for the procedure.
It’s the same scheme the province uses for private-purchased MRIs.
- Sask. patients will soon be able to buy CT scans
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“This bill is very troubling,” Danielle Chartier, the NDP health critic said Thursday. “Private MRIs and CT scans allow queue jumping.”
Chartier is worried the legislation will allow the province to have other procedures, such as X-rays, handled the same way.
“The Sask. Party and the health minister have clearly overreached their mandate,” Chartier said.
Health Minister Dustin Duncan said there is flexibility in the bill to add other scans but added there are no plans to do so.
“Certainly we would make it public before any decision was made,” Duncan said Thursday. “That’s, frankly, what we did with the MRI. We were very public in terms of looking at options and canvassing stakeholders and public input in terms of what that option would look like.”
Duncan noted that in the first two months it was allowed, 77 patients bought their own MRIs and that led to another 77 MRIs being done for patients on the public waiting list.
There are two licensed facilities in Regina that have been providing private-pay MRI services since February.
When legislation to allow private MRIs was introduced in 2015, the province said between 4,000 and 5,000 people were waiting for the procedure in Saskatchewan.
Expansion promised during election campaign
One of the Saskatchewan Party’s campaign promises leading up to the April 4 vote was to expand private-pay diagnostics to CT scans.
Under Saskatchewan’s scheme for every scan paid for privately, clinics must provide another scan — at no charge — to a patient on the public wait list.
The clinic does not bill the public health system for the second scan, but the price of a private scan will be set by the facility. The province expects that price would cover the cost of at least two procedures.
Private clinics would have to develop a business model to fit that requirement, according to the province.
A doctor’s referral is still required to obtain a CT or MRI scan.
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