An eye doctor with a practice in Chatham has received a four-month suspension as part of a resolution agreement with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Ophthalmologist Christopher Anjema has been accused of providing incompetent care for his patients and inappropriate billing.
Windsor lawyer and firm partner Jennifer Bezaire is slamming the outcome of this discipline hearing and calling it a failure of physician regulation in the province:
“For years Anjema has engaged in substandard practice while repeatedly putting his own financial interests ahead of patient safety and well-being. Dr. Anjema was one of the 10 highest billing doctors in Ontario. He overcharged his patients and the taxpayer funded OHIP system. In response the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons slapped him on the wrist. How is this acting in the public interest?”
Issues with Dr. Anjema and his practice were initially investigated over eight years ago. The eye doctor was required by the committee to complete continued education and retraining in 2013 and remediate his skills in 2014.
A reassessment two years later uncovered repeated deficiencies in his practice as well as patients being overbilled for services. Dr. Anjema also improperly billed the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) by ordering or conducting unnecessary medical tests. Many procedures performed were unjustified.
The eye doctor was even found to be double billing OHIP for services patients had privately paid for in a second assessment conducted in 2017. A former patient undergoing cataract surgery was charged hundreds more for an upgraded artificial lens but was given a standard, OHIP-covered lens. This patient is now legally blind after Dr. Anjema failed to diagnose glaucoma.
Despite blatant misconduct, only a short suspension was issued. Dr. Anjema was not asked to repay any funds he inappropriately charged his patients nor undergo further training. He did not lose his license and will resume his practice without active supervision. The eye doctor previously had to perform procedures under the guidance of a College-approved clinical supervisor.
Jennifer believes there are more patients victimized by Dr. Anjema and is advocating for the elimination of self-regulation for doctors. Greg Monforton and Partners is currently looking into whether a class action lawsuit should be launched against the eye doctor to help obtain compensation on behalf of patients who did not receive the proper care and treatment they needed.