Health Coalition's Letter Concerning Private, for-profit clinic in Halifax
On Wednesday, September 12, the Nova Scotia Health Coalition sent a letter to the Minister of Health and Wellness voicing our concerns about the opening Unified Health, a private, for-profit clinic charging a fee for medically necessary services in Halifax. We have not yet received a response.
The Coalition believes that charging a fee for prescription and referral services from a nurse practitioner violate the Canada Health Act’s prohibition against charging fees for insured services delivered by a medical professional. Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Health and Wellness, has a responsibility to ensure that the act is followed in Nova Scotia.
The introduction and expansion of for-profit, pay-to-use clinics in Nova Scotia are an attack our universal, public health care system which steal resources from the public system and let those who can pay jump the queue.
Our letter to the minister is below:
September 12, 2018
Department of Health and Wellness
1894 Barrington Street
P.O. Box 488
Dear Minister Delorey,
We are writing to request that the Department of Health and Wellness take immediate action to protect universal, public healthcare.
On the week of September 3, 2018 the Unified Health Clinic, a for-profit, pay-for-service primary healthcare clinic launched a media campaign to coincide with the opening of their Halifax location. Unified Health bill themselves as a “community triage centre” but are a for-profit, private health clinic which charge $35 per 15 minutes to see a nurse practitioner.
Despite soliciting online donations this is not a charity or a not-for-profit society. Unified Health is a for-profit operation and one of four limited liability companies operating under the Unified brand owned by Alan Attwater.
Charging a fee for medically necessary services is both a direct violation of the Canada Health Act and a betrayal of the basic values that underpin Canada’s public health care system. For-profit, fee-based health care both takes needed primary care professionals out of the public system and allows those who can afford to pay high fees to receive medically necessary services that other Nova Scotians simply can’t afford.
At a time when the public system is under pressure to recruit and retain medical professionals it is incumbent that the provincial government prevent for-profit, fee-charging clinics from poaching doctors, nurse practitioners and other professionals from the public system. All Nova Scotians deserve the same high quality, public health care and no one should be allowed to buy their way to the front of the line.
Allowing this industry to establish itself in Nova Scotia will exasperate the challenges facing public health care and create two systems of primary care: one for the wealthy and one for everyone else. It must be stopped immediately. The government of Nova Scotia have a responsibility to prevent two-tier health care system from gaining a foothold in the province.
Unified Health have a grand opening planned for September 23, 2018. We expect action from the provincial government to put an end to this exploitative and illegal practice immediately.
We would appreciate an update on this issue as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at (902) 880-8628 or email at [email protected]
Provincial Coordinator, Nova Scotia Health Coalition
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Government of Canada
Stephen McNeil, Premier, Government of Nova Scotia
Amelie Baillargeon, National Director, Canadian Health Coalition