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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | Jan. 27, 2017

(Recap continues below)

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  • Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette struck last-minute deals with doctors, dental surgeons and pharmacists about which services will be affected under a new ban on user fees for services covered by the province’s public health plan. However, the province’s two main physician federations cautioned that there’s still no overall agreement on compensation for its members.
  • Some doctors are getting around Quebec’s new ban on user fees by instructing patients to find a registered company that can pay on their behalf. The third-party billing loophole means patients can use any registered company, even their electrician, plumber or hairdresser, to legally pay the abolished user fees on their behalf.
  • A BC inquest into overdose deaths recommended that the province expand access to opioid-replacement therapy suboxone, and to pharmaceutical-grade heroin and hydromorophone for chronic opioid users. The jury also urged BC to develop standards of practice for opioid addiction treatment, and improve outcome measures and standards for treatment centres.
  • Alberta Liberals called on the government to conduct an inquiry into drug-related deaths of inmates in jails across the province after a recent spike in drug-related police investigations at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
  • Manitoba Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says residents who live along the US border might want to consider buying private health insurance after several people were left with massive medical bills from accessing emergency health care in the US. Although Manitobans living in certain border communities are covered for emergency care in some US hospitals, the rules of the agreement aren’t clear to many patients and health providers.

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