Private ultrasound payment dispute roils Quebec

A dispute over payment of ultrasound fees to private imaging clinics in Quebec has led to the closure of a number of practices and forced some patients to have their ultrasound exams performed in neighboring Ontario, according to multiple published reports.

While Quebec's public health insurance agency RAMQ was set to provide reimbursement for ultrasound exams performed in private imaging clinics as of December 29, the government and the province's radiologists haven't yet agreed on the reimbursement rate for the exams, according to a report on CBC News. As a result, a number of private clinics have canceled appointments or closed their doors, CBC News reported.

In response to the dispute, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said the province's ultrasound clinics were taking patients hostage and were closing to sway the negotiations, according to a report on Metro. Meanwhile, a patient advocacy group has also threatened to file a class-action lawsuit over the closings.

The closings and canceled appointments have also benefited ultrasound clinics in Ottawa, as a number of patients have crossed the provincial border to receive ultrasound exams, Metro reported.

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