Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{July 23, 2012}   BRAVO DR. DAY !!!

B.C. health clinic slapped for private billing vows to continue legal challenge

Written by Canadian Press on July 20, 2012
VANCOUVER | The president of a health clinic in British Columbia is vowing to continue his legal fight to allow the public to access private care, in the face of a ruling this week that ordered two facilities to stop illegally billing patients.
An audit by the B.C. Medical Services Commission found Cambie Surgeries Corp. and the Specialist Referral Clinic, both owned by the same company, illegally billed patients for services funded under the provincial health plan.
But Dr. Brian Day, president of Cambie Surgeries Corp., said Thursday his lawyer will file an amended statement of claim early next week as part of a 2009 lawsuit that argues Canadians have a right to timely health care that’s not being provided in the public system.
The developments in B.C. come after a similar lawsuit was launched in Alberta by two people who say they were forced to pay for care in the United States because they couldn’t get it in a timely fashion at home.
Both follow a Quebec case that saw the Supreme Court of Canada strike down that province’s ban on private insurance for medically necessary services.
“The ultimate outcome from what we’re fighting for will be the end of wait lists,” said Dr. Day.
“When we change the system to allow competition, wait lists will go away.”
B.C.’s Ministry of Health declined to comment on the court action Thursday, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on an issue before the courts, particularly for a statement of claim that has yet to be filed.
Vanessa Brcic, the executive board member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, said issues such as wait lists can be resolved within the public system and without developing a parallel for-profit system.
“If you start delivering care within the for-profit system, you’re basically allowing certain Canadians to bypass the wait lists and buy their way to the top of it,” said Brcic, a family practice physician.
“So you’re providing better access to a very select group of people, and in turn, providing worse access to everyone else.”
The lawsuit was originally filed against the B.C. government in January 2009. Six companies, including Cambie Surgeries Corp., say B.C.’s Medicare Protection Act is unconstitutional because it prevents patients from receiving timely and reasonable access to health care.
Day said his amended statement of claim will name Cambie Surgeries Corp. and three patients, including two children and one cancer patient, as plaintiffs.
He said the provincial government will have to argue that patients suffering on wait lists in the public system should have no alternatives, and residents of B.C. should not have the same freedoms as people in Quebec.
A 2005 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a Quebec law that banned private insurance.
Recently in Alberta, Dr. Darcy Allen and Richard Cross also filed separate applications in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench, questioning the province’s ban on private insurance.
Dr. Day said medicare was set up in Canada to look after the poor and underprivileged, but those groups have the worst health outcomes and he argued medicare is not fulfilling its mandate.
He also pointed to public-private parallel systems that operate in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Holland.
Finally an opportunity to see a specialist as fast as your pet can see a vet.  When you phone a private clinic, there is actually someone there to pick up the phone. Quite a different story from the unlisted numbers non-private clinics use to call patients. Try to call them and go thru a whole menu of options getting you nowhere as they never give you a direct line. You’ll also be able to make an appointment instead of waiting to be given one some 6 months ahead without having been consulted.  For those who are self-employed, cooling your heals in a waiting room for 2 or 3 hours is expensive. If working for a company, the boss and co-workers won’t be too pleased either when you are taking a morning or afternoon off.  Private clinics will see you on time, even early in the morning.

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