BC Doctors paid to treat gays for Mental disorder

In the last five years more than 7,700 BC Doctors billed the BC Medical Services Plan using a code that described homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The BC Government released the information late Friday. The government said the billings were most likely due to misidentified accounting procedures, and is confident no doctor was billing for treating homosexuality as a mental illness.

In 2003/04 173 people patients were the subject of these billings. In all Doctors billed 1,794 times using the mental disorder code. The cost was $67,359.

This story broke last week when codes for treating homosexuality were found on the BC Government website. The next day the goverment removed the codes and was checking to see if any billings had been processed by the BC Medical Services Plan.

You can see the page with the codes that classified Homosexuality as a mental disorder here. What is disturbing is why these codes were not removed earlier and how they got back into the billing system, if in fact they had been removed at one point at all.

A five year check is not adequate. The Government needs to investigate this back to when treating homosexuality as a mental disorder was changed by the medical community.

The following is from today's Vancouver Sun.
A backup text copy of the Vancouver Sun article is stored here.

Michelle Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, said the code was part of a World Health Organization-recognized list used by health ministries when paying doctors for services.

It was supplanted years ago with a new one that dropped homosexuality as a disorder.

However, for reasons the province doesn't understand, the old list remained on the books and some doctors continued to use it when filing for payment.

Stewart said there is no evidence any doctor was treating homosexuality as a mental disorder.

"It wasn't being used as a class for treating homosexuality as a disorder, but rather you were treating a patient with a problem," she said.

"The codes that would be more appropriate to it would be for counselling, depression and anxiety."

She said patients do see their doctors when they are in conflict about their sexuality, and it is reasonable to expect physicians to bill for those services.

More than 20 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association officially delisted homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The existence of the code became public this week and angered the gay and lesbian community, which said it was an offensive reference to days when homosexuals were considered mentally disordered.

The health ministry has advised doctors they can no longer use the code, and a reference to it has been removed from the government's website.

Nonetheless, there appears to have been enough doctors' offices aware of the code in recent years to demonstrate it wasn't an isolated incident.

The health ministry went back and dug out the claims for the past five years, although they say billings have gone on for many years. Here's what they found:

- In 2002-2003 there were 1,545 billings for treatment of 146 patients for a total of $52,849.

- 2001-2002: 1,594 billings for 244 patients. Total: $42,419.

- 2000-2001: 1,725 billings for 224 patients. Total: $42,288.

- 1999-2000: 1,182 billings for 274 patients. Total: $31,721.


- - -


Between 1999 and 2004, doctors billed the government a total of $237,000 for treatments in the long-discarded diagnostic code for homosexuality.

Billings per year

Avg. # treatments/patient

2003-04: 1,794 10.4

2002-03: 1,545 10.6

2001-02: 1,594 6.5

2000-01: 1,725 7.7

1999-2000: 1,182 4.3


Anonymous said...

Ye Right the BC government is trying to cover its ass.Guess what I do not believe them when they say
7,000 Doctors did not treat being Gay as a Mental Illness?

This sound like a violant of Human Rights bey the BC. government and the Medical Profession? If I lived in BC. I would be calling for a Public Inquiry?

If this is indeed true countless lives have been ruined not only the the BC. government also the
Medical Profession. I hope that someone well take-up this Legal Challange the GLBTT's Community needs answers. If the are doing it in BC. what other Prov. in Canada is doing the same?

I am Gay and thought being Gay was not considered a Mental Illness guess I was wrong not so in BC.?

Sounds like something the Right wing government of Gordon Campbell would premote. Has this been on the
BC. web-site before the Liberals took power or since they took power?

Anonymous said...


This is a version of http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoprac/diagcodes/290_mental.pdf as it looked when our crawler examined the site on 1/31/2005. The page you see below is the version in our index that was used to rank this page in the results to your recent query. This is not necessarily the most recent version of the page - to see the most recent version of this page, visit the page on the web. MSN is not affiliated with the content nor parties responsible for the page displayed below.MENTAL DISORDERS


302.8 OTHER

Anonymous said...


Gone gone gone gone ha ha

Dr. Doolittle says this is better for your better health.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Doolittle says knowledge hurts so share, ha ha front page of the sun was good ha ha, I hope everyone feels better now, I sure do, ha ha

Anonymous said...

They were using the old
Diagnostic Code Descriptions (ICD9)
The new version doesn't include homosexuality, these people are snobs, they trample all over our sensitivities and then bill by the hour, and Dr. Doolittle thinks that is bad medicine, maaybe it is not even medicine at all but outdated unethical morals, so was the code ha ha. This is the 21st century, at least we can question the code, imaging 20 years, that code was there, God knows what people went through. To be brave is noble.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if people knew they were being identified as homosexuals, I wonder if people were being tested for homosexuality, aroused and then being humiliated, I wonder. I think Dr. Doolittle is a good doctor. Dr. Doolittle doesn't even bill MSP.

Anonymous said...

What really bugs me, is on thursday the spokeswoman made it appear doctor's didnt use the code for billing, and how could have she had said that as if it was nothing. Dr. Doolittle says that lying is not good for mental health, why do it, the truth always comes out, 7700 billings, that was a lot. I am sure the general public and Ministry of Health are shockrd. They probably did it to us, so now it is Dr. Doolittle's turn to use shock therapy. Imagine what it was like 20 years ago without the internet. UGH!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another thing I dont like is that it is assumed billing codes do not matter patients, when they identify patients, therefore someone has an auditory processing deficit and it dxed with having significant scitzotypal traits later to be confused by the family physician as scizoid personality, when they need protection similar to ADA protection so that they can be included in classes, then it is not truee these codes only worry office staff in medical clinics, they worry Dr. Doolittle too.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Doolittle says billing codes should be designed to fit patients not used so patients fit billing codes. Auditory processing disorder is not a mental disorder either.

Anonymous said...

It is so adversarial In BC sometimes we forget who our best friends are. Where would Dr. Doolittle's patients be without their best friend? If public authorities are allowed to become so authorianism that arrogance outweighs reason, then Dr. Doolittle says those humans in BC are sure in trouble. A billing code shapes authorities cause billing pays the authorities, so billing codes matter to Dr. Doolittle even you don't know what or where they are. But you do now, don'tyou? Ha ha.

Anonymous said...

Health Ministry gets rid of gay billing code

Jeff Lee
CanWest News Service; Vancouver Sun

February 11, 2005


VANCOUVER -- A controversial billing code that allowed doctors to charge B.C.'s medical services plan for treating homosexuality as a mental disorder was removed from the province's website Thursday.

Michelle Stewart, a spokeswoman for the province's Health Ministry, said the province hasn't been able to determine how many doctors have used the billing code, but admitted staff at some doctors' offices have probably been using it to seek reimbursement.

But she said the ambiguity of the code likely led some clinics to use it when charging for consultations with patients who were seeking advice. It's unlikely any doctors have used the code recently because doctors don't treat homosexuality as a disorder anymore, she said.

''In the case of some probably diligent office workers, where perhaps a young person came in for counselling because they were discovering their sexuality and wanted to talk to the doctor about it, then they may have billed against that code,'' Stewart said. ''Not because they were being counselled for mental illness, but because they were getting support and direction from their doctor.''

A day earlier, Stewart said the Health Ministry would query the medical services plan database to determine how many doctors have actually used the code. But on Thursday she said that figure was not yet available. An accurate figure could be available as early as today, she said.

The code, which came to light Wednesday when a member of the public discovered it on the Health Ministry website, infuriated members of the gay and lesbian community, who said it hearkened back to a darker time when people could be locked up because of their sexual orientation.

Stewart said the code was a universal one copied from a World Health Organization-recognized list of disorders. Also used by other provincial health ministries, including Ontario, it was supplanted years ago by a more modern billing code that eliminated homosexuality as a category of neurotic or personality disorders.

© The Daily News (Kamloops) 2005