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Court ruling clears way for health clinic audits: Dix

The provincial government should push ahead immediately with audits of private health clinics after a court ruling last week, NDP health critic Adrian Dix said today.

“The province clearly has the right to conduct the audit and it's time they got on with it,” said Dix.

The Court of Appeal set aside an injunction that would have allowed Medical Services Commission auditors to enter clinics belonging to the Cambie Surgeries Corporation and examine records to see if they are billing patients for services that are also being billed to the government.

However, writing the reasons for judgment on behalf of the three judges who heard the case, Harvey Groberman said the MSC never needed an injunction in the first place. Instead he confirmed “the Commission's right to apply for a warrant in properly constituted proceedings before a justice of the peace.”

The clinics could also ask the Supreme Court to disallow the audits until the litigation is over, he said.

The health ministry has no plans to immediately send auditors into the clinics, said spokesperson Michelle Stewart. “It's a complicated ruling and we're taking the appropriate time to review the ruling and determine the next steps.”

Health minister Kevin Falcon is responsible for enforcing the law, said Dix. “I think he has an obligation to act, the sooner the better.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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