Nova Scotia's Deputy Minister of Health has filed a complaint against the billing practices of 27 radiologists - a move that Doctors Nova Scotia says is escalating a situation out of proportion.
Deputy Minister Kevin McNamara filed the complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia to follow up on an audit by Medical Services Insurance, also known as MSI.
At issue is fees paid for a procedure called a 3D CT reconstruction. McNamara’s complaint alleges unethical billing took place.
"The audit was done, and MSI felt there was some inappropriate billing," said Mike Flemming, president of Doctors Nova Scotia. But Flemming said the health department has taken things a step too far, and that McNamara’s actions were inappropriate.
"It is rare. I’m not sure that it’s ever happened before," Flemming said.
"These particular billing arrangements have been done for years. There's been no question ever before from MSI about the billing practices of this group. There obviously, at this point, is a different interpretation of a fee schedule that needs to be revised."
It’s not known how much money is involved in the dispute.
Health Minister backs move
Representatives from Doctors Nova Scotia met with Health Minister Dave Wilson last week to outline their objections to the deputy's complaint.
Wilson refuses to comment directly on the radiologists, but said the department and deputy are entitled to refer audit matters to the College where findings warrant.
"I think it's appropriate for the department to move in that direction to try to find some clarity or seek clarity when it comes to anything within audits that are found within the health care system."
MSI told CBC it does not publicly share information related to its audits. It would only say audits are a regular part of its operation.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons would not confirm any investigation is ongoing.