BC Court Case: The Mystification Continued

Yesterday concluded Brian Day’s testimony in his case to remove the ban on extra-billing and private insurance in British Columbia with the provincial lawyer accusing Day of fraudulent billing activity at his private clinic. The provincial lawyer came to that conclusion after Brian Day gave three days of testimony that consisted of avoiding questions, then contradicting himself and the evidence.

It was clear that Day was frustrated by the provinces’ line of questioning, having tried many times to bring up the subject of waitlists for medical procedures or speculate on the impact of wait times on patients. However, as the province had proven earlier, Brian Day does not have evidence to give on wait times as he does not have any provincial data on the length or impact to BC patients.

What we did learn, through the shroud of contradictory statements, is that the financial operations of Cambie Surgeries Corporation is, at best, mystifying. Brian Day argued that he was “open” with provincial auditors and had in fact invited the audit “voluntarily”. However, the province produced evidence that not only had Cambie filed injunctions to stop the audit but that the auditors stated they were not provided with the documents they needed to perform a full audit.

More to the point, is whether or not the Cambie clinic has engaged in extra-billing. A practise that Day himself described as “fraudulent” but it is also the very thing he seeks to change with his suit. Documents provided in Day’s affidavit demonstrate that physicians who practise at the clinic are paid regularly out of an account called “consulting-pediatric” even though they are not performing any pediatric procedures. At the same time, these physicians are paid by the province for all insured procedures performed at the Cambie clinic. Day refused to say specifically what these payments are for and claimed repeatedly that no documentation exists that would itemize these payments. It is astonishing to any observer that a professional relationship, such as the one that exists between Cambie Surgeries Corporation and its physicians, would exist without a contract, or written agreement or any accounting records for the payouts. Day would have us believe that the relationship is one of “trust” and it is rare because Cambie is “a unique facility”.

As public health care advocates, we believe the contradictory statements by Brian Day should lead all to the conclusion that not only does Brian Day want the freedom to double bill, he already does. He launched this suit, which threatens the future of public health care in Canada to defend himself from prosecution.

In Canada, we have a public health care system that ensures care is provided on need, not on the ability to pay. It requires that everyone is covered by the same public insurance system regardless of health status and income, and that medically necessary services are paid for by public insurance and only public insurance. We will continue to watch this trial closely and work to protect these vital principles.

The trial has adjourned until October 1.

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