'Put an end' to private MRIs, federal health minister tells Saskatchewan

Canada’s health minister has ”significant concerns” with Saskatchewan’s buy one, get one policy for diagnostic scans such as MRIs.

Federal health minister Jane Philpott has written to her provincial counterpart, Jim Reiter, telling him she would like Saskatchewan to ”put an end” to encouraging private payment for medical scans.

Instead, she says the government should ensure everyone has access to MRIs and CT scans as quickly as possible.

Philpott notes that the Canada Health Act requires provinces to pay for all medically necessary services. She says the cost of any private scans could be deducted “dollar-for-dollar” from any federal transfer payments. 

Read Philpott’s letter here:

The provincial government began allowing people to pay for an MRI privately last year. In return, the clinic must offer another scan to someone on the public waiting list.

It has promised to implement a similar program for CT scans.

Reiter has written a letter back to Philpott, telling her the province has saved a million dollars with its buy one, get one program. It says 1,100 patients have been taken off the public waiting list.

Reiter says the province ”fully intends” to continue expanding its 2-for-1 program to CT scans. 

Read Minister Reiter’s letter here.

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