For-profit MRIs and CTs available at hospitals - Macleans.ca

For-profit MRIs and CTs available at hospitals

“Third parties” like businesses may buy scans for patients

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Many Canadian hospitals are allowing Canadians to buy MRI and CT scans, including Mount Sinai and St. Michael’s in Toronto. They say they are not violating any laws, because an exemption exists that allows third-parties outside the public system to buy health care services. The RCMP, the military, prison inmates, and the WSIB, for instance, have long purchased care outside of the provincial funded health systems. Now, private insurers like Acure Health of Alberta are offering the service to members who buy health insurance. At one hospital in Ontario, any corporation with business cheques is being allowed to buy services for anyone. At Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga, Ont., a representative told the National Post that an MRI or CT scan could be had up to three days faster so long as it’s paid for by a corporation, but only if “it looks like it’s a legitimate sort of expense for the company.” A spokesman for the Ontario Health Ministry confirmed that hospitals are funded to provide scans for a certain number of hours and they’re allowed to sell access to their machines outside those hours. The hospitals can then spend that money on patients. Michael McBane of the Canadian Healthcare Coalition says he’s very concerned that those who pay can pay are able get faster service. “It’s the thin edge of the wedge,” he said. “If they don’t get beaten back, they will grow like a cancer.”

National Post

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