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Health firm settles with B.C. commission on extra-billing for health services

The Law Courts building, which is home to B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, is seen in Vancouver, on Thursday, November 23, 2023. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press) The Law Courts building, which is home to B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, is seen in Vancouver, on Thursday, November 23, 2023. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)
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British Columbia's Medical Services Commission says it has reached an agreement with a Vancouver company over allegations that it was extra-billing for health care paid for by the public system.

The commission filed a petition to B.C. Supreme Court last year against Harrison Healthcare asking for an injunction, saying a reasonable person would believe they could obtain priority access to health benefits by paying $4,500 a year for a premium service.

The commission says in a statement that Harrison has agreed to address its concerns by telling patients that they don't have to pay for a program to get access to a doctor if they only want benefits under the Medical Services Plan.

Dr. Robert Halpenny, chair of the commission, says they are pleased they could reach the settlement and have dropped the court action against the company.

The agreement is part of a recent crackdown by the commission on extra-billing by some health companies in the province.

Its statement says the settlement should serve as a warning to other companies that may be offering patient-funded programs that charge for priority access to medically necessary health care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

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