Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 1 2017 - Page 21

Policy matters Key revisions in the draft 1 Providing more guidance regarding what constitutes a reasonable fee (including giving consideration to the patient’s ability to pay); 2 Requiring physicians to communicate any fees that will be charged in advance of providing the service; 3 Setting out new expectations for when insured and uninsured services are offered together or as alternatives; photo: istockphoto.com Communication emphasized in billing, block fees draft Feedback wanted on policy consultation Council is inviting feedback on a draft policy that addresses issues around uninsured services and block fees. The draft policy – entitled Uninsured Services: Billing and Block Fees – is not intended to tell physicians how much to bill but, rather, it sets out general principles of professionalism and relevant legislative obligations. The draft policy retains the key content and central principles of the current Block Fees and Uninsured Services policy. However, changes have been made to enhance clarity and flow, strengthen existing expectations, and address issues not covered by the current policy. These proposed changes are a result of a review of public polling, research and feedback from a preliminary consultation. Moreover, decisions of the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee were reviewed to identify frequent or persistent problems. During the review, a number of key themes emerged that warranted being addressed (please see sidebar). 4 Setting out specific requirements that must be in place before a physician may bill for a missed or cancelled appointment; 5 Stating that a block fee may not be appropriate in all practice settings where uninsured services are provided; and 6 Requiring physicians to refrain from using language that is or could be perceived as coercive or which is suggestive that services may be reduced or quality of care may suffer if the block fee is not paid. Issue 1, 2017 Dialogue 21