Billing fees for various common allergy tests vary widely across Canada

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Abstract

Background: The 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. Methods: We 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. Results: Of 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 to $575] and follow up/build up visits [mean $125.74; range: 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. Conclusions: Greater 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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Protudjer, J. L. P., Soller, L., Abrams, E. M., & Chan, E. S. (2020). Billing fees for various common allergy tests vary widely across Canada. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13223-020-00426-0

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