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New Doctors of BC head supports crack down on 'double-dipping' by private clinics

Dr Trina Larsen Soles (Courtesy Trina Larsen Soles, via Twitter)

Dr. Trina Larsen Soles says she's pleased the federal health minister has promised to crack down

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The new president of Doctors of BC says she’s against patients and the province being billed twice for the same medical service, but Dr. Trina Larsen Soles is making it clear it’s not her organization’s job to ‘police’ the system.

“The people who enforce, that is the government, and the people who regulate us is the College, and the College has come out with a very definite statement about our responsibilities as physicians and we support that.”

Larsen Soles also says it’s not up to her to say if the RCMP should be investigating doctors accused of double-billing for fraud.

“I don’t know how this plays out in the legal sense. I just know the government is responsible for maintaining our system and actually, they’re responsible for how we access care in the first place.”

She says the greater concern remains patients waiting several weeks, or even months, for treatment.

“Our position at Doctors of BC is that patients should have access to care regardless of their ability to pay. We’re not responsible for policing the system, but we don’t condone or support breaking the rules…. We are very concerned about how long patients are having to wait to get necessary care in this province. They wait a long time. They have a lot of pain and we’re not necessarily serving them very well.”

She adds she’s pleased the federal health minister has promised to crack down, but that again requires cooperation from the provincial government.

Little more than two weeks after taking over as president of the organization representing 12,000 physicians, Larsen Soles is also wondering who will deliver on election promises to reduce surgical waitlists across British Columbia.

“Well, they’ve all said that. I’m interested to see how things are going to pan out because we don’t even know who to talk to at the moment.”

Right now, BC’s Health Minister is Mary Polak, but that’s expected to change after the 43-member Liberal government is challenged by a 44-seat alliance between the New Democrats and Greens.

“And we don’t know who to talk to in the provincial government until they sort out who’s in charge.”

She adds the situation’s even more complicated when you factor in federal plans to better monitor how health care is delivered across Canada.

“We have systems issues across the continuum and we want to improve access and we have directives from the federal government that they’re really going to crack down on how we provide access.”

When the Legislature is recalled Thursday, 43 seats will be held by the Liberals, 41 by the NDP and three by the Greens.

One of those 87 MLA’s has to be Speaker until a confidence test by the Opposition is expected to topple the Christy Clark government.