Alberta doctors continue to bill province for ‘treating’ homosexuality

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

In 1973,  the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

China officially declassified it 5 years ago.

But in 2012, it appears Canada's most conservative province still hasn't.

According to a story by PostMedia News, doctors in Alberta can still bill the province for treating homosexuality as a mental disorder "akin to bestiality and pedophilia."

In fact, in  2010, the last year for which figures are available, doctors billed the province five times.

Alberta, like other provinces,  uses the ninth version of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9),  which was written in 1975 and includes a diagnostic billing code listing sexual orientation under mental illness.

The province has known about the outdated classification for more than a decade and the government promised to change it in 1998 and in 2010.

While the code has been removed from the online version of the government's diagnostic codes, it still remains on the books and according to PostMedia and is still being used in Alberta.

The code is still on the books in Quebec as well - at least as of late December.

According to the Journal De Quebec,  homosexuality was listed as a illness in Quebec's health ministry's computer systems, just after "hiccups." The newspaper article, however, makes no mention of Quebec doctors billing to "treat" homosexuality.

Meanwhile, in Alberta, health minister Fred Horne said he will look into the matter.

"Simply changing where the billing codes are publicly available does not address the issue," he  said in the legislature last week.

"I'd be pleased to look into it."