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Some family physicians' offices discriminate against people with low socio-economic status
Date:2/25/2013

f Physicians and Surgeons has a policy prohibiting "cherry picking" or screening of patients. Family physicians are expected to take patients on a first-come, first-served basis or, if they are not accepting new patients, offer to put them on a waiting list.

"Screening visits, or 'patient auditions,' are unacceptable," Dr. Hwang said, yet that is what nine per cent of the doctors surveyed offered. "Obviously that presents even more opportunities to discriminate."

Dr. Hwang said stricter enforcement of the college's rules would help prevent discrimination in access to primary health care.

Dr. Hwang stressed he was not trying to single out family physicians or suggest they discriminate more than other physicians or professions. He also noted that most of the telephone calls made by the researchers were answered by secretaries or administrative assistants, and their actions do not necessarily reflect the views of the physicians for whom they work.

Dr. Hwang was recently appointed St. Michael's first endowed Chair in Homelessness, Housing and Health. This is believed to be the first hospital-based chair in homelessness in the world. It will support research and innovation in the provision of care to marginalized populations, both locally and nationally.


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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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