Emergency physicians deserve thanks, apology (Letter)

It will likely not surprise many people familiar with the workings of government that the amount that will be paid to emergency physicians under this court ruling is a pittance of what is owed.

From the time I began working as an emergency physician in B.C. in 1976, right up until the late 1990s, MSP refused to pay any billing we submitted for any patient who lacked B.C. medical coverage — in other words, anyone who hadn’t paid their premiums.

This policy was enforced, regardless of circumstances. Stabbings, shootings, drunk and falling down, drug-addicted — on many night shifts at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, these kinds of desperate and labour-intensive patients represented up to 50 per cent of the folks we saw. In those days, in the case of single males, social services deliberately refused to contribute or deduct the $3 MSP premium from welfare cheques, knowing full well that the only ones disadvantaged would be the treating physicians.

Dr. Christopher Rumball writes.

Read the full letter here