Question Period, 19 November 2015
Full transcript available here.

Psychiatrist’s salary and audit

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I want to start by thanking the Minister of Health and Wellness and Family and Human Services for promptly reporting back to the House on the matter of the $1.13 million payment to an Island psychiatrist.

I was shocked to read in that report that there is no formalized auditing process in place within the department so in the meantime we have to work with the existing process. The minister’s response stated that: During periodic reviews of physician billing, and I quote: any irregularities discovered may trigger an audit.

A question to the minister. Could the minister give the House the average amount that psychiatrists charge under the fee for service in Prince Edward Island?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness and Family and Human Services.

Mr. Currie: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I don’t know the exact numbers but I want to be clear. I’m not sure if all the information did get in the note, but there are annual audit work plans that are designed by Health PEI under the Health Services Act. If you go back to the Auditor General’s report back in 2009 there were clear recommendations on physician billing.

Currently we have a claims billing system that is tied in very directly to the Master Agreement which is a negotiated contract. I would like to reassure the Leader of the Third Party that audits are ongoing and they’re based on a range of activity. Audit work plans are identified, but also if we identify billing practices that we see variances in billing payments, we certainly have the ability to go in and start audits.

I do want to reiterate that these are ongoing and the work plans are built and they evolve through the course of the year.

Thank you.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, first supplementary.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

All of the information that you just stated, minister, was not in that note. I would like to know from the minister: Can you confirm whether or not this particular psychiatrist billing did indeed trigger an audit?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness and Family and Human Services.

Mr. Currie: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

One of our priorities in government, as the minister of health who oversees the Health Services Act, is to make sure that we get good value for every dollar we have in our over $600 million health care budget.

I do want to confirm that there is an audit that has been going on on psychiatry. That is part of the audit work plan and that is ongoing. We’ll continue to allow that work to go on and we’ll allow Health PEI to sort of evaluate that audit and also to look at recovery practices, if necessary.

Thank you.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party for your second supplementary.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m still not clear whether the audit is on psychiatry or on this particular psychiatrist.

Could the minister please tell the House how long these audits typically take, who is doing it, and when the results will be made available to the public?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness and Family and Human Services.

Mr. Currie: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I will bring that information back. It is on a group of psychiatrists. This particular psychiatrist that has been referred to by the Leader of the Third Party has a very full practice. He’s a fee for service. I do want to reiterate that fee for service physicians in the province are responsible for payment of all their staff, all their operational costs, which is part of their responsibility.

We do have a Master Agreement that’s negotiated in good faith. We’re currently in Master Agreement negotiations. But I’ll bring all of that information back to the Leader of the Third Party for his clarification.

 

Leave a Reply