hi-nb-medicare-852-4col

The New Brunswick Medical Society, which represents the province’s doctors, said it believes the provincial government’s decision to cut medicare billing funds goes against a signed agreement it has with the government. (CBC)

New Brunswick’s two health authorities are urging the province's doctors and the Department of Health to work together to solve a dispute about medicare cuts that's heading for the courtroom.

Horizon Health and the Vitalité Health Network issued a release on Saturday urging physicians to sit down with the province to come up with a plan to find savings in medicare.

In March, Finance Minister Blaine Higgs announced funding for doctors who bill medicare for each service will be cut by $18.8 million. The funding will be capped at $425 million for two years.

The New Brunswick Medical Society, representing close to 1,600 physicians, is suing the province over what they're calling a violation of a previous agreement that would see medicare funding levels maintained.

"Things like lawsuits create winners and losers and you know we have so many challenges ahead of us, fiscal challenges, trying to be more innovative, trying to find better ways to do things, we all need to be working on the same team," said David Ferguson, board chair with the Horizon Health Network.

The head of the New Brunswick Medical Society said he agrees with the health authorities that collaboration is a much better approach to cut the province's healthcare costs.

"We believe collaboration is built on trust," wrote Dr. Robert Desjardins in a statement. "We appreciate the health authorities' commitment to engage and collaborate with physicians."

Health Minister Ted Flemming said he's hopeful the society will drop its court action.

"The best way to resolve this dispute is at the negotiating table," he said.

The medical society is scheduled to present its case in court on Wednesday.