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Billing fees for various common allergy tests vary widely across Canada

Authors
  • Protudjer, Jennifer Lisa Penner1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Soller, Lianne7, 8
  • Abrams, Elissa Michelle1, 7
  • Chan, Edmond S.7, 8
  • 1 The University of Manitoba, 501G-715 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 3P4, Canada , Winnipeg (Canada)
  • 2 George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, Winnipeg, Canada , Winnipeg (Canada)
  • 3 The Children’s Health Research Institute of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada , Winnipeg (Canada)
  • 4 Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden , Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 5 Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden , Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 6 The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada , Winnipeg (Canada)
  • 7 The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada , Vancouver (Canada)
  • 8 BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada , Vancouver (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology
Publisher
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Apr 22, 2020
Volume
16
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s13223-020-00426-0
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundThe prevalence of food allergy in Canada is high and has increased over time. To date, there are no Canadian data on the healthcare costs of visits to allergists.MethodsWe sent an anonymous survey to allergist members of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) between October and December 2019. Survey questions included demographic information and billing fees for various types of allergy visits and diagnostic testing.ResultsOf 200 allergists who are members of CSACI, 43 allergists responded (21.5% response rate). Billing fees varied widely. The greatest ranges were noted for oral immunotherapy (OIT; both initial consultation [mean $198.70; range $0 to $575] and follow up/build up visits [mean $125.74; range: $0 to $575]). There were significant provincial differences in billing fees, as well as significant billing fee differences between hospital versus community allergists (e.g. oral food challenge [OFC]: $256.38 vs. $134.94, p < 0.01). Billing fees were higher outside of Ontario, with the exception of specific Immunoglubulin E (sIgE) testing and OIT visits.ConclusionsGreater standardization of billing fees across provinces and between hospital versus community allergy could result in more consistency of billing fees for OFC and OIT across Canada. Further knowledge of exact costs will help inform practice and policy in the diagnosis and management of food allergy.

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