Manitoba to probe Flin Flon MD double-billing allegations

The Manitoba government will investigate allegations of double-billing by doctors at the Flin Flon General Hospital.

Reforms needed at Flin Flon hospital, say opposition politicians

Manitoba politicians react to a CBC News I-Team investigation that uncovered concerns about patient care and doctors' pay at the hospital in Flin Flon, Man. 2:08

The Manitoba government will investigate allegations of double-billing by doctors at the hospital in Flin Flon, Man.

The allegations were uncovered this week in a CBC News I-Team investigation that highlighted concerns about patient care and doctors' pay at the Flin Flon General Hospital.

The I-Team gained access to doctors' schedules, which showed physicians there were frequently working several roles during one shift and, in some cases, quadruple-dipping when it came to charging fees.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Theresa Oswald told CBC News on Thursday that "double-billing is never acceptable" and the province will work with the health authority to look further into the allegations.

Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said he wants Oswald to change the way doctors bill for their services so they cannot attach multiple stipends to their daily pay.

"This is directly in the minister's purview and the minister needs to make sure that this is being done in a way that's appropriate because, of course, if it's not appropriate, it looks bad on doctors and it looks bad on the minister," he said.

Hospital review underway

The I-Team also spoke to patients who said they were misdiagnosed and ignored at the northwestern Manitoba hospital's emergency room.

Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard wants the way doctors bill for their services to be changed in order to prevent multiple stipends. (CBC)

Officials with the Northern Regional Health Authority say they hope a current review of the hospital will lead to change.

But Progressive Conservative health critic Cameron Friesen noted that the NDP government reviewed the same hospital recently, with a report released in May 2011.

"Of what value will yet another review of the system be to the community when we already have recommendations coming from 2011 to address exactly these types of issues in the FlinFlon area?" Friesen said Wednesday.

Prior recommendations implemented

Some changes are already underway to address public concerns at the Flin Flon General Hospital. For example, doctors will no longer be allowed to work 24-hour shifts there.

Contact the I-Team

If you have other investigative tips to pass on, please contact the CBC News I-Team at iteam@cbc.ca or 204-788-3744.

The 2011 review of the FlinFlon hospital came with 44 recommendations, which the health authority and the provincial government say have largely been implemented.

The review referred to the need for a specific review of the hospital's emergency room, which is what's happening now, Oswald told CBC News in an email Wednesday.

Oswald said the ER review would "take into account the professional working environment and concerns regarding care brought forth by members of the community."

With regards to specific concerns regarding care, Oswald said the health authority has been asked to look into those cases if they haven't been investigated already.

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