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Removal of 'Good Faith' health claims expected to impact the homeless

FILE PHOTO: Homeless man sits on a park bench. (CREDIT: iStock Photo)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The provincial government could pull the plug on a program that allows people to receive treatment who don’t have a valid health card.

Starting Jan. 1, the UCP may remove Good Faith Claims, which means doctors would be able to bill a person without a health card if they believe that person is an Alberta resident.

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The move is expected to impact Calgary’s most vulnerable population.

“It may make, for some clients or very few clients, more difficult to access health services,” said Boris Lesar, Director of Clinic Operations at the Mustard Seed.

“Oftentimes the problem is people don’t have any ID. That’s the process that takes the longest is trying to find their birth certificates and records from their provinces where they were born, and that takes a while, it can take up to two-three months or even four months sometimes,” Lesar said.

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Lesar added this doesn’t mean the homeless are completely out of luck when it comes to receiving care, as there are other services such as CUPS and The Alex who will help those regardless of having a health card.

The elimination of the program by the province is expected to save around $1 million a year.