Montreal clinic sets up online registry to monitor extra medical fees

A surveillance registry is now up and running to let patients monitor and report any billing of ancillary medical costs—which were banned in Quebec last month.

The "fight for health" committee at the Pointe-St-Charles Community Clinic launched the initiative Sunday, with members saying they hope the registry will be a vital tool for users of the public health system to ensure they are not being charged extra when the law says they shouldn't be.

It's a welcome "victory" over extra medical fees, said Stéphane Defoy, a community organizer at the clinic.

Any patient that is charged extra fees for treatments, services or medications that are covered by the Quebec provincial health insures, RAMQ, can report them on the Pointe-Saint-Charles Community Clinic website.

There is "a good chance" that some medical clinics will find new ways to charge patients auxiliary fees, according to Defoy, but he maintains these ultimately abolished ancillary fees go against the Canada Health Act.

Members of the "fight for health" committee say it will continue to monitor the status of other fees—charged for uninsured treatments or services that may be cumbersome to the patient, as well as administrative forms and the renewals of prescriptions without visits to the clinic.