Physicians can make more doing paperwork than performing this legal, but emotionally demanding, service. For many, it’s just not worth it.
Back in March, Dr. Tanja Daws took time off from her family practice to travel from B.C.’s Comox Valley to a remote community on Vancouver Island and provide an elderly patient who was dying and suffering with medical assistance in dying (MAID). After the five-and-a-half hour endeavour, which involved some of the most emotionally and technically difficult work Daws has ever done, the physician calculated that, after factoring in her staffing costs and other office expenses, she had lost about $28 for every hour she worked.
“It struck me that I can’t keep doing this,” says Daws. “I can work for nothing, but I can’t work for a loss.” . . . [Full text]
Ontario government looking at changes to fee and referral system to make it easier for doctors
While physicians in other provinces have raised the touchy subject of how much they should get paid for ending a life, Dr. James Downar says that money is not what’s stopping more doctors from providing medically assisted dying in Ontario.
“Nobody is getting rich off this and nobody should think they’re going to get rich off this,” Downar, a critical and palliative care physician in Toronto, said in an interview.
He’s one of just six physicians in Toronto registered to provide medical aid in dying. There are 74 in all of Ontario. . . [Full text]
Payments have been slow and amount of time that doctors can bill isn’t enough, says Dr. Tim Holland
The president-elect of Doctors Nova Scotia is concerned that delays in getting paid for administering medically assisted deaths is deterring more doctors from offering the service.
Dr. Tim Holland said he’s yet to be paid for any of the procedures he’s done since Bill-C14 came into effect in June 2016.
Of the 67 claims made in the province for assessments and procedures related to medically assisted deaths, 35 have been paid and 32 are being assessed for payment, the Department of Health and Wellness said Tuesday. . . [Full text]
‘We’re being paid 50% of what we would doing routine office work. So it’s difficult to justify continuing’
Medically assisted dying has been legal in Canada for over a year, but one B.C. doctor says he can no longer afford to offer the service, because the costs involved are much greater than the $200 payout from the provincial medical services plan.
In a letter, Dr. Jesse Pewarchuk calls the situation “economically untenable” while outlining a number of steps a physician must follow in the medical assistance in dying (MAID) procedure. . . [Full text]
Globe and Mail
In a recent letter to some of his colleagues, Vancouver Island doctor Jesse Pewarchuk explained why he won’t be helping any more gravely ill patients to end their lives, despite his fervent support for assisted death.
“It is my deep regret to inform you that I am no longer accepting referrals for Medical Assistance in Dying,” the letter began. “Recent changes to the [Medical Services Plan] physician fee schedule have made MAID economically untenable and I unfortunately can no longer justify including it in my practice.” . . . [Full text]