Hospital parking fees are health care user fees

November 28, 2011, Canadian Medical Association Journal

Hospital parking fees are essentially health care user fees and should be abolished, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"Using revenue generated from such surrogate user fees for health care is against the health policy objective of the Canada Health Act and could become the subject of a ," writes Dr. Rajendra Kale, Interim Editor-in-Chief, .

He argues that parking fees are actually a barrier to health care because they can distract patients who are worrying about rising costs as the meter ticks and may result in shortened visits with their doctors. Many patients who visit hospitals in Canada have no option but to drive given the size of the country and that specialists are often located in larger urban centres a distance from home.

"Some patients (who have often waited several weeks to see a doctor) try to end a consultation abruptly when they realize that they will have to pay for an additional hour for parking," writes Dr. Kale. "This is parking-centred health care, which is not compatible with patient-centred health care."

Scotland and Wales have abolished parking fees for patients at hospitals after the efforts of health ministers in those countries.

While parking fees provide revenue for hospitals, the amount is not a significant percentage of overall budgets. For example, parking fees for The Ottawa Hospital are projected to bring in about $10.8 million out of a $1.16 billion (excluding revenue from parking).

"Let us start by validating our patients' parking," concludes Dr. Kale. "This would be an important step for patient-centred health care."

Explore further: Patient-centered care starts with education

Related Stories

Patient-centered care starts with education

October 31, 2011
The main challenge to providing patient-centred health care is education, as many patients do know how to access the health care system, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Quality health care delivery key election issue, says CMAJ

April 6, 2011
Delivering quality health care rather than health care sustainability is a key issue for Canada's federal election, and Canadians need a vision from federal leaders to radically transform our health care system, states an ...

Alternative health-care funding in Canada will not lower costs

August 22, 2011
Alternative funding for health care in Canada will not result in lower costs nor contribute to financial sustainability, states a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.