British Columbia

Maternity clinic turns away mother-to-be over unpaid bills

A hospital in White Rock has turned away a couple who are expecting their first baby any day now, in a dispute over medical insurance coverage.

Couple denied maternity service

8 years ago
A B.C. clinic says the couple owes $14,500 for prenatal visits 2:19

A private maternity clinic in White Rock has turned away a couple who are expecting their first baby any day now, in a dispute over medical insurance coverage.

The clinic says Colten Teubert, a former Edmonton Oilers hockey player who is originally from White Rock, and his American fiancée Ashley Sims owe $14,500 for pre-natal visits over the past few months.

"They just basically told us to hit the road, and it's obviously frustrating for me and Ashley because this is our first child," said Teubert, who is currently a free agent after the Oilers didn't re-sign him last month.

The private run clinic is located inside the Peace Arch Hospital, but is not part of the provincial healthcare system, say hospital officials.

But Teubert says he and Sims are fully covered through the Professional Hockey Players' Association's medical insurance plan, administered by Meritain Health.

Medical officials have refused to comment, but email correspondence between a doctor and the insurance company says the clinic was not happy about working with the U.S. firm, especially since doctors had not been paid for the pre-natal checkups.

"I was really shocked," said Sims, who is 8½ months pregnant. "I was trying to hold my tears back because it was scary," she added.

The couple says the necessary receipts simply weren't being sent to the insurance company, who are fully prepared to pay once the proper paperwork is sent.

"I've done a lot for this community... I'm a proud Canadian and I would like to have my boy here, but they just kind of told us to beat it," Teubert said.

Just today, the company said it received the necessary forms to process the claims.

Nevertheless the couple is still looking for a hotel room in Bellingham, Wash., in case the baby arrives before the paperwork problems are resolved.

Fraser Health Authority executive director Loraine Jenkins issued a statement saying the health authority could not comment on the case due to confidentiality.  

"The maternity clinic at Peace Arch Hospital is a private clinic and not a Fraser Health service. Patients who are receiving care at the Peace Arch Maternity Clinic and who do not have appropriate medical insurance would be required to pay for services rendered," said Jenkins.

"Any patient requiring emergency care will not be turned away from a Fraser Health acute care facility, including Peace Arch Hospital."

With files from the CBC's Negar Mojtahedi