Unfair treatment alleged in report

Alberta’s ombudsman has issued a special report he hopes will push the government to make sure patients with out-of-country medical bills are treated fairly.

Alberta’s ombudsman has issued a special report he hopes will push the government to make sure patients with out-of-country medical bills are treated fairly.

Gord Button is calling for an immediate review of four cases in which patients were denied medicare coverage and left to pay U.S. hospital bills totalling up to $100,000.

Button says he found no evidence the province’s review committee or an appeal panel were trying to save money at the expense of patients under consideration.

But he adds patients need to be given specific reasons when their medical expenses are denied — it’s one of 53 recommendations in his report.

Button also wants doctors to start helping patients with their applications for out-of-country medical coverage, noting that’s what’s already done in other provinces.

Liberal Harry Chase says he knows of two cases in which Albertans were forced to borrow up to $60,000 after being denied funding for treatments they were forced to seek in the U.S.

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