FREDERICTON, N.B. – Health Minister Hugh Flemming and representatives of the New Brunswick Medical Society met recently to discuss physician billing practices and the findings of the recent auditor general's report on Medicare payments.
“During the meeting, I reiterated my view that the vast majority of our province's physicians follow the rules and bill properly,” said Flemming. “However, given that Medicare is funded through tax dollars, it is important that we respond to the concerns expressed by the auditor general and ensure that the rules, regulations and policies are being well-communicated and followed in fairness to both the physicians and the Medicare system.”
The auditor general's report highlighted several ways the department could improve the way it conducts business, including strengthening its audit process. Since then, the department has added more auditors.
“The society has always supported a clear process to address rare inconsistencies,” said Anthony Knight of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “We look forward to a stronger relationship with the Department of Health as New Brunswick works to build a more sustainable health-care system.”
Flemming said he agreed that further work with the society and the privacy commissioner is necessary before any consideration is given to publishing individual physician billing information. As a result, individual physician income will not be published at this time.