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October 9, 2009

Canada Health Care - Part 2

In late September, 2009 I asked my newsletter subscribers that live in Canada to write to me with their positive and negative stories about the Canadian health-care system. Leslie Fauvel wrote the following unedited letter:

Hi Tim:
I am a Canadian plus I work in the health-care industry serving urological cancer patients.

Referrals are made to our office from a general practicioner - Family Dr. so the urgency is known from the initial time of referral. It may take from 2 hrs to 2 weeks to get that patient into our office depending upon the urgency of the problem. I can tell you that many patients postpone a week or two as they have commitments to deal which they prioritize. Surgery can also be very prompt (within 2 weeks), depending upon the significance of the problem - and here again, some patients defer surgery a month or two due to other life priorities.

The "worried well" have to wait when it comes to elective surgery, but the "proven sick" and the cancer patients get priority attention. There is no stress over paying bills, insurance claims, etc. There is no need to consider refinancing a home.
Many of our patients' ailments are detected early as our system is structured to welcome medical check-ups. Patients have an annual physical through their family doctors, and don't need to rationalize whether or not they'll visit their physician due to a cost concern.

There are services which are not covered by our health-care system, which include plastic surgery, elective adult circumcisions, and vasectomy reversals. Also, 3rd party requests for medical services (from insurance companies, lawyers, for elderly driver's licensing, or pilots, etc.)

There is much to be said about being in the same boat and having a collective system which is continually evolving with the needs of the population. Our patients are served by medical need, no matter who they are - which makes the system fair and efficient.
While you may fret about the upcoming reform for health care in your country, consider those who are not as successful & wealthy as you are. All the other prosperous nations in the world do this, and have a better system than yours in that they serve people's medical needs without bankrupting them, and without generating huge profits to insurance agencies.

It is true that the Canadian system is being stretched at present with the aging population, including baby boomers, and with the growing carcinogenic diagnoses, but these ebbs & flows are normal in a vibrant democracy. We have our challenges, but with caring physicians at the helm, we tend to roll with the bumps quite smoothly. I can tell you that hundreds of our patients have expressed their delight to me at how quickly and efficiently their treatment is booked & delivered. Regrettably, the contented are not as likely to make headlines and don't have the sensationalism that most media pick up!

Take Care & when you're finished with Obama, please send him north..

Leslie Fauvel,
Edmonton, Alberta, T5W 4N9

Posted by Tim Carter at October 9, 2009 1:54 PM

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