News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 2, 2019

LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT ONGOING HEALTH SYSTEM TRANSFORMATION RE-INTRODUCED


Amendments Would Improve Delivery of Health Services for Manitobans, Strengthen Oversight of Physician Billing: Friesen

The Manitoba government has re-introduced amendments to The Regional Health Authorities Act and other legislation to support the successful implementation of the province’s health system transformation, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“Manitobans deserve an improved health-care system, with lower wait times and better patient outcomes,” said Friesen.  “These amendments will support our blueprint for an improved system that is better organized and improves access to consistent, reliable, quality health-care services for patients right across the province.”

Originally introduced in the spring, the amendments support Manitoba’s health-care transformation plan, which would simplify an overly complex and expensive system while achieving better results for patients.  In addition to articulating the role of the department in a clearer way, the bill would better align and integrate the responsibilities of Shared Health and various service delivery organizations including regional health authorities.

The bill would also bolster the accountability framework for the health system including provisions to strengthen oversight of physician billing.  The proposed amendments include provisions to recover fees from physicians if the service is not rendered or if they are unable to produce adequate records that demonstrate that a service was provided, said Friesen.

“Ensuring proper billing oversight and accountability is essential in a well-functioning system,” said Friesen.  “We know the vast majority of physicians charge the system appropriately for services rendered, but with more than $900 million in government spending at stake, Manitobans expect checks and balances to protect them.  These amendments address the interests of all Manitobans including physicians.”

Oversight for doctor billing was significantly scaled back under the former government, said Friesen.  In 2015, the Manitoba government was billed nearly $741 million by physicians.  Of that, only $7,000 was determined to be an overpayment, representing a recovery rate of less than a thousandth of one per cent.

When the bill was first introduced, Doctors Manitoba expressed concerns pertaining to physician billing oversight.  The minister has repeatedly told Doctors Manitoba that government remains open to dialogue on this issue.  

“I am optimistic that a solution can be found that provides appropriate capacity to recover payments in a way that maintains the confidence of physicians,” Friesen said.

In 2016, Ontario’s auditor general investigated similar lacks of oversight and doctor overpayment recovery in that province.  The Ontario government responded to those concerns with steps to enhance oversight.

For more information on health system transformation, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/hst/.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED




Backgrounder
Background Information - https://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2019/12/BG-HST_Legislation-HL.pdf