Editorial: Physicians, steel thyself

Records fee a further headache for sickened patients

Numerous Port Hardy medical patients got a dose of insult to go with the injury of a departing physician this month.

Along with a letter informing patients that his practice was closed effective June 30, Dr. Izak Adriaan van der Vyver attached a second sheet with an application and price schedule for acquiring a copy of their medical records.

Those records have been shipped to Docudavit Solutions, rather inconveniently located, for local residents, in Toronto.

To get those records back to the North Island will require a fee ranging from up to $80 for an individual to $160 for a family, “plus applicable taxes and shipping charges,” the letter adds helpfully.

This may be legal, but a fairer approach would have been to notify patients before bolting town. And to offer them the chance to get copies before the documents were locked away with a third party that makes its living by amputating a slice of the photocopying pie.

The doctors are not in VIHA’s employ, and van der Vyver certainly didn’t leave a return number. Complaints may, however, be lodged with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.

Oh, and now comes word that another doctor is about to close up shop in Port Hardy. This might be a good time for patients to ask their own doctors about access to those records.

Physicians, steel thyself.