New Brunswick's doctors were disappointed by the Minister of Health's recent comments concerning the Medicare audit process. The Medicare Fee Schedule is 253 pages long, is very complex, and is often subject to interpretation. We work daily with Medicare to ensure that our 21st-century care is interpreted correctly in this dated Schedule. If the Department of Health or a physician has concerns over any Medicare claims, there is an open and transparent process for dealing with disputes pertaining to the interpretation of the fee schedule, by either party. The Minister’s assertion that physicians are making improper claims to Medicare on a widespread basis lacks evidence and is very troubling.
The Minister's comments concerning the Auditor General's review of Medicare miss the mark. Physicians have offered to work with the Minister to address specific issues, to resolve any questions, and to improve the government's billing system. We have not heard from the Minister about this. We would encourage the Minister to meet with doctors to discuss issues with them, rather than have us learn things through the media. Doctors are working hard every day to take care of thousands of New Brunswickers. The Minister would be well served to spend more time with doctors, and less time in front of reporters, to understand the complexity of the health system.
Robert Desjardins, MD FRCPC
President, New Brunswick Medical Society