BURNABY, BC, Feb. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - The cost of outsourcing medical
transcription services in the Lower Mainland has increased by an
average of 26 per cent a year over the last five years, according to
financial documents produced by health authorities.
Yet despite the high costs of outsourcing, these same health authorities
plan to completely contract out in-house medical transcription later
this year and fire about 130 medical transcriptionists (MTs), who
currently work directly for health authorities.
HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson is urging the B.C.
government to reel in health authorities' plans in order to control
costs and protect patient services.
"Last Tuesday's budget signalled a very tough year for cash-strapped
health authorities and overstretched front-line health care workers,"
"But health authorities' failure to manage costs of outsourced medical
transcription puts other programs and services at risk."
Providence Health Care (PHC), which manages transcription on behalf of
all Lower Mainland health authorities, recently admitted that there was
currently a "significant backlog" in medical transcription, despite
massive outsourcing of the service.
"We have about 130 skilled and experienced hospital MTs working to full
capacity with huge amounts of overtime to deal with the growing backlog
of patient reports," says Pearson. "And they also spend a lot of that
time fixing errors by outsourced workers."
HEU is also concerned about the accuracy and privacy of patients'
medical reports when transcribed by a network of home-based workers
across the country, and recently asked B.C.'s privacy commissioner to
launch an investigation into the matter.
Between 2007 and 2012, Lower Mainland health authorities' outsourcing
costs for medical transcription have increased from $1.7 million to
$7.8 million. Currently, about 50 per cent of medical transcription
volume is outsourced.
PHC recently signed a contract with private-for-profit M*Modal Canada to
take over Lower Mainland medical transcription services.
A backgrounder is attached to the electronic version of this release at www.heu.org
SOURCE: Hospital Employees' Union
For further information:
Brenda Whitehall, communications officer, 604-880-8635 (cell)