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Editorial: Ban hospital parking fees

Nov. 29, 2011 at 12:02 AM

OTTAWA, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Hospital parking fees are barriers to healthcare access and are essentially healthcare user fees that should be abolished, a Canadian editorial says.

"Using revenue generated from such surrogate user fees for healthcare is against the health policy objective of the Canada Health Act and could become the subject of a legal challenge," wrote Dr. Rajendra Kale, interim editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Parking fees distract patients who are worrying about rising costs as the meter ticks and may result in shortened visits with their doctors, Kale said.

"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," Kale wrote. "This is parking-centered healthcare, which is not compatible with patient-centered healthcare."

Parking fees provide revenue for hospitals, but the amount is not a significant percentage of overall budgets, Kale said.

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