Two Ottawa doctors says they were shocked to see their bios on the South Keys Health Center website, despite never working there or having any contact with the walk-in clinic.
Dr. Sonam Maghera is a sports medicine physician at the Ottawa Orthopaedic Centre on Woodroffe Avenue. She says she was alerted to calls from patients asking if she had changed her practice location.
“It was quite disconcerting because I only work here and I have put a lot of work putting together a pretty good practice to serve the community,” says Maghera.
That is when she went to the South Keys Health Center website and saw her bio, including where she was educated and trained.
“My name was verbatim, and my bio was completely taken off the Ottawa Orthopaedic Centre and that was the most concerning,” Maghera says. “Ultimately I was quite shocked and I was worried that they were maybe using my licence and my billing number to see patients, or give prescriptions.”
Dr. Sonam Maghera says her bio appeared on the South Keys Health Centre’s website, despite the fact that she doesn’t work there. It has since been taken down. This is a screenshot of her bio on the page. (Dr. Sonam Maghera/Supplied)
Maghera says her office also found a bio that was very similar to her colleague Dr. Darryl Young’s bio. It was similar to his bio on the Ottawa Orthopaedic Centre, but some key details had been changed.
“Instead of Darryl Young, they used Dave Young,” Young said. “Some things about my training, like the location of my training, they changed; some of the locations of where I trained, but all of the other elements were identical essentially.”
The Ottawa Orthopaedic Centre contacted the clinic, but no one would tell them how the bios got there in the first place.
They have since been taken down.
CTV News first reported the story of the South Keys Health Center located on Bank Street last week. It is a walk-in clinic that charges clients a $400 per year membership fee. The clinic says the fee is for access to a nurse practitioner, not a doctor.
Under provincial health laws, it is illegal for doctors to charge a fee for services that are covered by OHIP.
CTV News made several attempts to contact the clinic, including on the phone and by email, but all of them have gone unanswered. After going to the clinic Tuesday, an employee would not comment, only suggesting it might have been a mistake. The clinic refused an on-camera interview.
The Ottawa Orthopaedic Centre has put in a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Better Business Bureau.
As for Maghera, she is glad the bios have been taken down, but says this raised a lot of concerns.
“I was shocked at how easy it was to steal my identity without any recourse against it. I love what I do, I care about what I do and I know that in the age of Ontario-based health care, we are dealing with a lot of stress. This is another one we don’t need to deal with,” she says.
The ministry of Health reiterated a statement sent to CTV News last week about the South Keys Health Center. A spokesperson saying, “We will not tolerate any clinic charging for services. While at this time, services delivered by nurse practitioners who are not part of a nurse practitioner led clinic, are not covered by OHIP, we are taking steps to review this and shut down bad actors taking advantage of patients.
“It is a violation of the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act (CFMA) to charge an individual for an OHIP insured service or a component of an insured service. 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.”