Women’s health clinics, health authorities and the Opposition NDP are lining up to criticize new fees that could lead to service cuts at community abortion clinics.The College had raised these fees to other clinics a few years ago but granted the women's centres a reprieve.
Two Metro Vancouver women’s centres and one Vancouver Island clinic are facing 400 per cent increases to regulatory fees charged by the College of Physicians and Surgeons this year, which equate to an almost $9,000 bill this year.
Now suddenly and summarily ended.
The college is now treating the non-profit women’s health clinics the same way it treats for-profit surgical centres, and that’s not fair, said NDP Health critic Maurine Karagianis.Supporters point out that these clinics provide a range of medical services for women. Many women don't have family doctors and don't feel comfortable having something like a PAP test done by any old random doctor one may encounter in a walk-in facility.
The fees are also not supported by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which provide operating funding to the women’s centres. In a joint letter to the college, both authorities said the fee hike “seems inappropriate” and the clinics have fixed budgets, funded mainly by government, that don’t allow them to make up the extra money elsewhere.So. One's gotta wonder. What's -- or maybe more appropriately, who -- has gotten into the BC College of Physicians?
The clinics are different from private surgical facilities, argued the health authorities. They clinics save the health care system money by treating women in the community instead of in a hospital, and provide an environment without fear and stigma for women needing [sentence ends here].
Plain brown envelopes welcome over the virtual transom.
[Blogged from my laptop! First time.]
UPDATE, March 22, 2014: BC Health Minister orders health authorities to pay the increased fees for the clinics.