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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is hearing from local doctors that unacceptably long delays by the Liberal government in paying physicians for health care are negatively impacting recruitment and retention efforts and the ability to attract locums.
According to Yukon physicians, this problem has gotten worse in the past two years, and the government has failed to live up to its commitment to process physician billings in 30 days. Many claims remain unpaid for 90 days or longer.
“It is an increasingly competitive labour market for health care professionals, and the territorial Liberal government needs to recognize that no one wants to wait months to be paid,” said Brad Cathers, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Social Services. “The government needs to update its doctor payment system to reflect best practices in other jurisdictions and ensure billings for insured health services are processed and paid promptly. The Yukon’s health system is again being put at risk by the Minister of Health and Social Services’ lack of action.”
Over one-fifth of Yukoners do not have a family doctor. According to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, under the Liberal government, the Yukon has slipped to the worst doctor-to-patient ratio in the entire country. Paying doctors for health care services promptly is an important part of retention and attracting new doctors to the Yukon, especially in such a competitive profession.
“We were pleased to see the NDP, and the Liberals borrow heavily from the Yukon Party’s policies in their new commitment to enhance recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals,” added Cathers. “Those included programs aimed at supporting students pursuing studies in medical fields. However, any new measures will be seriously undermined if the Liberal government continues to fail to pay doctors within a reasonable time.”