When Joanne Thiessen booked a Good Doctors Medical appointment, she was surprised to see a fee request for $20.
“It did surprise me. I’m not sure; I don’t know where the $20 is going to,” she said.
On the Good Doctors Medical website, the booking says it’s a donation, to “keep the clinic open” and “pay a local nurse a living wage”. They say the Ontario government cut 46 per cent of their funding.
“I chose to decline the donation,” said Thiessen. “OHIP should be covering these services.”
It’s caused a stir on the Stittsville Matters Facebook group and for those looking to book an appointment.
“I didn’t know what the donation was for or any background,” said Amelia Hayley who accompanied her husband Harold for his in person exam. “I said I’d check it out and see before I donated.”
The walk in clinic the Hayleys and Thiessen visited is housed inside the Unity Compounding Pharmacy in Stittsville. The owner says he has no affiliation with the donation.
“For me, as a pharmacy I do not receive any money from Good Doctors. I don’t receive any part of the donation,” said Moamen Amer. “I offered them a spot in my pharmacy to give people access to see the doctor instead of a waiting list in the hospital.”
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Good Doctors Medical says the clinic is fully compliant with the Canada Health Act and Ontario’s health-care laws.
They say they are asking for a donation because “OHIP funding is not sufficient for clinic operations. The funds collected go towards clinic operations such as nursing wages and overhead costs.”
The clinic says donations are optional which means you do not have to pay to see a health professional.
In the registration section above the donate button there’s an option to ‘decline’ and continue with your booking.
Thiessen, who is battling severe neck pain, says the donation ask shouldn’t be happening.
“On principle we should not be paying for this we are already paying OHIP,” she said. “Maybe I would think differently down the road if I knew a little more about it.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario Ministry of Health says charging an individual for an OHIP insured service is a violation of the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act. If a patient feels that they have been charged for an OHIP-insured service, they can contact the CFMA program by telephone at 1-888-662-6613 or by email at [email protected] to open a review. The ministry reviews all possible violations that come to its attention and ensures that all OHIP-insured patients who are charged for an insured service are reimbursed in full.