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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | April 6, 2018

  • British Columbia will fine doctors who charge extra user fees up to $10 000 for a first offence and $20 000 for a second offence, after a Health Canada audit found three private clinics had billed patients an extra $15.9 million in 2015–16. The province will reimburse patients charged extra fees for services covered by the public health care system.
  • Seventy percent of Canadians who died in encounters with police since 2000 had mental health problems or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to a CBC investigation. There have been more than 460 police-involved deaths since 2000.
  • Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, will appeal a Saskatchewan judge’s decision to reject a $20-million class-action settlement because the sum was insufficient. The judge was not satisfied the settlement was fair or in the best interests of people harmed by OxyContin.
  • Sixty-six percent of people who died of drug overdoses in British Columbia between January 2016 and July 2017 had spent time in prison at some point. Of the 1854 deaths, 18% occurred in prison, during parole, or within 30 days of release.
  • Nova Scotia’s main health authority has not followed through on five of seven commitments to reduce surgical wait times since 2014, according to the province’s auditor general. On average, Nova Scotians wait 1.5 years for hip and knee replacements; the national benchmark is six months.
  • Alberta introduced a bill to make it illegal to harass abortion providers by phone, mail, or online. The proposed legislation would also require protestors to stay 50 metres from abortion clinics, and prohibit protestors from taking photos or video of patients.
  • A group of doctors from Ontario said the province has mismanaged health care, and called on opposition parties to pledge to several reforms. The suggestions include a forensic review of the Ontario Medical Association and the disbanding of Local Health Integration Networks.
  • New Brunswick is expanding a program that allows specially trained advanced-care paramedics to provide a wider range of medications and treatments. According to the province, more than a third of calls to which paramedics responded since a pilot of the project launched last spring, required immediate, higher-level care.
  • Alberta Health Services apologized after sending an Indigenous teenager a letter addressed to “Treaty Indian.” The province’s health minister said the letter was unacceptable and launched an internal investigation into the incident.
  • Saskatchewan pharmacists can now prescribe birth control and antibiotics for urinary tract infections. Pharmacists may charge a fee for the assessment, in addition to the cost of the medication.

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