College of Physicians tightening up Code of Ethics to rein in inflated fees

The Quebec College of Physicians is planning on revising its Code of Ethics to rein in the practice of charging patients extra fees.

The College says they want to reinforce the message that it's patients' needs that should determine access to healthcare not their capacity to pay.

Pierre Blain, executive director of a local patients' rights group, Regroupement provincial des comités d'usagers, said it's about time.

"We pay so much already for our health services. It's not fair to charge when that is supposed to be (included) in the price that they were receiving," Blain told CJAD 800 News.

The revised Code of Ethics will make it clear that a doctor can't ask for inflated fees for medical services or give out vague bills. The code will also emphasize that doctors can't pick and choose their patients.

"Especially old people because they were saying it's too long to work with them or other people with chronic diseases," Blain said.

The College says they took public complaints to heart with stricter guidelines for doctors, that it hopes will be in place this fall following public consultations.

Blain said strict enforcement and sanctions are a must, adding they intend to keep after the College to make sure they do just that and send a clear message.

"We will be after you if you don't follow the rules."

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