Private clinics misleading Ontario patients, advocates say

Ontario Health Coalition says many clinics are billing patients for medically unnecessary services

Many private clinics in Ontario are misleading patients and billing them for medically unnecessary services, public health advocates charged Tuesday.

A “significant” number of clinics contacted by the Ontario Health Coalition were charging patients extra fees on top of billing the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for necessary procedures, such as colonoscopies, the group said.

One clinic was charging patients $50 “administrative fees” for such things as a snack and patient records, according to OHC, which worked with six university students to conduct the research.

Such fees were more common among cataract clinics, which were charging patients hundreds and even thousands of dollars for medically unnecessary tests and procedures when they came in for needed surgery, said OHC’s executive director Natalie Mehra.

Clinics are manipulating patients, who are confused about what they need and what they don’t need, she said. Some patients they spoke to were concerned that if they refused to pay extra fees, that they would get substandard care.

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