Health minister thankful for semi-private MRI clinic proposal in Niverville
Public-private partnership would see patients charged fees for diagnostic tests
Manitoba's health minister said he is "thankful and supportive" Niverville is proposing the creation of a for-profit magnetic resonance imaging clinic.
"My job isn't to cry foul every time taxpayers' dollars aren't being expended in health care," said Kelvin Goertzen Monday.
The minister's comments come the same day he announced Manitoba would be signing onto Ottawa's health-care deal that will see federal transfer payments annual increases cut from six per cent a year to three per cent.
Goertzen said it's inevitable more private clinics will open in the province as the feds rein in growth on health-care spending.
"That was the case in Saskatchewan. That will be the case in Manitoba," he said.
In January, Ottawa gave Saskatchewan a year to develop a case proving its private MRI clinics conform with the Canada Health Act.
In 2015, the Saskatchewan government began allowing people to pay for an MRI privately but in return, the clinic must offer another scan to someone on the public waiting list.
Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has urged the province put an end to promoting private medical scans saying it should be up to provinces to pay for all medically necessary services to ensure everyone has the same level of access to care.
Niverville's clinic would work differently from the Saskatchewan model.
A spokesperson for the project told CBC the private company, Niverville Heritage Holdings Inc., is partnering with the town and Niverville Heritage Centre to build it.
The company would then own the clinic for 25 years, charging patients between $1,000 and $1,300 for an MRI scan. After 25 years, ownership of the building and all the equipment inside reverts to the town.
Goertzen expects to receive details on the Niverville plan by Friday and said his department would analyze the proposal.
"We've asked communities to be innovative and to be creative when it comes to health care delivery for their residents," said Goertzen. "Niverville has a long history of being innovative and creative."
The minister said he does not yet know if Manitoba Health will have any part to play in the clinic's operations.
with files from Stefani Langenegger