PHOTO: CTV News Toronto
“This is public money that is being drained from OHIP. Ontario Greens call on the provincial government to act immediately using the specific tools they have at their disposal, specifically through the Health Services Appeal and Review Board,” said Ontario’s Green Party in a statement issued Friday.
“Ontario’s health-care system is already being stretched thin as it is. The Ford government should act quickly to recover the funds lost to fake procedures,” the statement said.
It’s not clear what steps OHIP is taking now to recover the money. Ministry officials have answered some questions but have said they cannot answer others during an ongoing investigation, even though that investigation appeared to have concluded with a decision by the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal issued on Thursday.
“Dr. Fagbemigun stole from Ontario’s publicly funded health-care system and harmed patients for his own financial gain,” the discipline panel wrote, fining him a maximum $35,000 and assessing around $72,000 in costs.
The panel expressed its will that the public be paid back before the cost award — and said if further action could be taken it would be through OHIP and the courts.
In 2019, the Ontario government gave the Health Services Appeal and Review Board the authority to hear requests by OHIP to recover funds from doctors.
But according to its registrar, all the cases it has heard on that subject have actually been doctors attempting to recover funds from OHIP, and none with OHIP trying to recover funds from doctors.
The panel found that Fagbemigun billed for some 42,000 tests and procedures from 2014 to 2018 that he couldn’t have done because he didn’t buy the supplies.
He also sent real patients for tests they didn’t need, including drug testing a nine-year-old and administering eight pregnancy tests to a woman who is not sexually active, and took referral fees from another organization, the panel found.
Fagbemigun’s office is in the riding of Etobicoke-North, with Premier Doug Ford’s campaign office visible across the street.
No one was there when CTV News visited, or at Ford’s constituency office. Calling the phone number posted on the door prompted a message that said, “The mailbox belonging to Doug Ford, MPP, is full.”
At the office of Robin Martin, who was most recently the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health, a staff member took a message — the latest in several messages left by CTV News.
A spokesperson for the premier’s office said the elected officials are in the middle of a transition period after the election, which saw former Health Minister Christine Elliott not run again.
At the doctor’s office, patients came at regular intervals looking for their doctor, but could not be seen.
“I was supposed to see him today. We don’t know what is going on,” said Iris Omo.
She and a companion turned to trying other doctors in the building.