Private "Non Urgent" MRI Cost Denied as Disbursement

Earlier this year reasons for judgement were released declining to reimburse a private MRI cost as a disbursement due to lack of evidence of urgency.   Reasons for judgmeent were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, reaching a similar conclusion.
In last week’s case (Kumanan v. Achim)the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and her treating physicians requested an MRI for diagnostic purposes although the need for this was described as “non-urgent”..  The Plaintiff arranged the MRI through a private facility.  In declining the disbursement associated with the private MRI the Court noted that while there was nothing unreasonable about obtaining an MRI in there was no evidence justifying straying through the MSP system.  In rejecting the disbursement the Court provided the following reasons:
[4]             In evidence was a note from Dr. Harji dated July 16, 2011 that read:
For diagnostic clarification in regards to this individual’s MVA related injuries, I would advise MRI of cervical and lumbar spine.  I would avoid radiation based imaging, i.e. x-rays and CT as well as bone scans.
[5]             On July 17, 2011, Dr. Suddall who was a physiatrist scheduled to examine Ms. Kumanan also requested an MRI examination of her cervical and lumbar spine.  His note read:
Persistent neck and back pain with minor right sided hand and leg symptoms.  Difficulty functioning and remains unable to resume working.  X-ray report, CT report pending from Mount St. Joseph Hospital.  I have asked patient to proceed with MRI of cervical and lumbar spine privately via lawyer and ICBC.
[6]             Importantly, Dr. Harji describes the Plaintiff’s status for this purpose as non-urgent…
[10]         …In this case, there was no trial date pending when the MRI examination was requested by the two physicians.  Rather, a notice of trial was not filed until August 2012 reserving a trial date for March 2013.  As matters transpired, this case settled in February of 2013.
[11]         I was not provided with any evidence as to what the wait time may have been to have the MRI examination done in the public health care system.  It is also noteworthy that while the recommendation for the MRI examination was made in mid July 2011 it was not acted upon until after some other x-rays were done in October 2011 and only after that, on November 2nd, 2011, was the MRI examination done.
[12]         I am left to wonder whether that if a place had been reserved in the public health care system in July 2011, the Plaintiff might not have had the MRI examination done if not by November of 2011, not too much longer thereafter.
[13]         Accordingly, I am not satisfied that it was reasonable to incur this expense when it was incurred and it is disallowed.

bc injury law, disbursements, District Registrar Cameron, Kumanan v. Achim, MRI

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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