Potential Impact of Provincial Changes To Doctor Billing Rules Discussed By Olds Council

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says reform is needed on how doctors bill for service. Shandro's ministry says data shows too many doctors are seeing patients for routine visits but are billing the province an extra fee meant for visits involving multiple or complex issues. Shandro says this shows the current system needs fixing. The province is currently proposing changes to extend the time before the extra fee kicks in.

During this week's meeting, Olds council discussed the potential impact of the provincial government's looming changes to doctor billing rules.

Mayor Michael Muzychka says says the town of Olds has received a pair of heartfelt letters from the managing doctor at the Wild Rose Medical Centre regarding the issue.

Mayor Muzychka believes there are a lot of rural municipalities that are going to be drastically affected by something like this.

At Monday's meeting, councillor Mary-Ann Overwater also asked Mayor Muzychka if he would be interested in examining the possibility joining a prominent board.

Meantime, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says his ministry is still collecting data and talking with family physicians - particularly about the new rules surrounding seeing patients with complex needs.

He stated this week, that this is definitely not something that will take effect February 1st.

Doctors say the change would cost them $200 million dollars a year and could see some rural and family practices close.

The Alberta Medical Association says it believes only a small fraction of doctors are misusing the add-on fees.


(Contains content from The Canadian Press)

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