Health Minister must take a stand on patient records

July 28, 2016 at 10:31 am

1,000 patients lose doctor in Pictou County, now forced to pay for medical records

karlamacfarlane

PICTOU, NS – Pictou County’s Progressive Conservative MLAs are calling on Health Minister Leo Glavine to keep his promise to help Nova Scotians access their medical records.

The untimely death of a doctor in Pictou County has left patients who wish to retrieve their records a bill ranging from $87 to $200.

“This is unacceptable,” says Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane. “These people lost their family doctor quite unexpectedly and now they’re being blindsided with fees to access their own health records. The minister was made aware of the problem months ago. He needs to stop with hollow platitudes and make a decision so these people can get on with their lives.”

When Minister Glavine was asked if he would assist families who have been burdened with fees in the legislature on May 12, he said “that will be done this afternoon.” MacFarlane raised the issue again on May 20.

After requesting a written update on what Glavine was doing about medical record fees on June 15, MacFarlane received a response indicating a “review is underway.”

Since then, he’s left this issue unresolved. Around 1,000 patients have been left without a doctor and without their medical records.

“I get calls and people stopping by my office every day telling me they can’t find a doctor and they can’t afford to buy back their medical records,” says Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn. “The time for study and review is long over. The minister’s lack of action on both the doctor shortage file and the medical fees issue is troubling, to say the least.”

On June 17, MacFarlane wrote a letter to the editor where she highlighted the fact Minister Glavine would not commit to reimbursing the Pictou County residents who must now pay for their medical records.

“This unfortunate situation shines a light on the need to move toward electronic medical records,” says Pictou East MLA Tim Houston. “Being without a family doctor and faced with the prospect of paying a bill to obtain your medical records only makes a stressful situation even worse. There must be a better way. I am anxious to hear how the Minister feels about it.”

The MLAs are calling on the Minister of Health to stop dragging his heels and reveal the plan for patients facing medical fees to obtain their records. He must also state if patients in Pictou County who have already paid will be reimbursed.