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New mom awaits hospital refund for induction gel

Last Updated Oct 17, 2017 at 6:36 pm EDT

A Mississauga hospital says it is still working to refund moms who were incorrectly charged for induction gel to jumpstart their labour after a CityNews investigation revealed the drug should have been covered by OHIP.

Trillium Health Partners had been charging patients between $38 and $90 for dinoprostone vaginal gel or inserts at its two birthing sites — Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital.

“Our belief was that we were in line with our interpretation of ministry guidelines,” said spokesman Shawn Kerr back in August. “But upon further review, we determined that, no, we were not in line with those guidelines and so we immediately stopped the charge and will be offering reimbursement to patients going back.”

A spokesperson for Trillium Health Partners told CityNews Tuesday it has reimbursed 182 mothers to date after sending out about 2,400 apology letters to patients.

However, new mother Jennifer Devine says she’s been waiting six weeks to get reimbursed $270 after having to be induced three times at Mississauga hospital.

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Mississauga hospital apologizes to patients who paid for drug to induce labour

“I think I called them while the story was still on and left them a message saying, ‘Hey this is my situation,” Devine said. “I had to pay three times so this money makes a big difference for me given that I’m on mat leave.”

Devine says hospital administration initially told her it would take up to four weeks to receive a cheque in the mail. However, she says when she called last week she was told they didn’t have any of her information on file.

“To me it says their administration is disorganized,” Devine said. “They were able to articulate how many people were charged for the gel so why weren’t they able to just go into the system and do a cross check and issue refunds? It’s disappointing.”

Almost 9,000 babies are born at the two sites every year. Between July 2016 and July 2017, 623 patients at Credit Valley were induced using 922 doses of the gel.

Trillium Health Partners apologized Tuesday for any delays, adding they are working as quickly as possible to issue refunds. They say the average time for reimbursement is seven to 10 business days.

Anyone who was charged for the drug can call the hospital’s patient relations office at 905-848-7367 or visit the Trillium Health Partners website to arrange for a refund.