Skip to comments.U.S. clinic lures Canadians
Posted on 11/25/2005 9:16:39 AM PST by Pikamax
MD Anderson, the world-famous cancer centre, has become the first U.S. hospital to open a Canadian office, responding to the growing demand for fast access to medical services and exceptional customer care offered by top U.S. hospitals.
"We don't want to upset anyone," said Djaoued Bedjaoui, Canadian information officer for the MD Anderson Cancer Center in his downtown Toronto office, located a block from major hospitals.
"But Canadians are struggling with their health-care system . . . the timing is excellent."
Growing frustration with this country's health-care system, characterized by long waits and difficulty accessing timely diagnostic tests, is fuelling demand for medical services in the United States.
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There is also a feeling that governments are more tolerant of entrepreneurial health efforts: NDP Leader Jack Layton said his party was no longer willing to prop up the Liberals because they would not crack down on private care.
All are signs, some say, of a climate ripe for expanding private health care.
Top U.S. hospitals, according to patients, provide what many in Canada cannot: quick access to care and top-rate customer service.
When Dawn Reimer of West Vancouver was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was told it would take two weeks to get a consultation with a surgeon. Surgery would take place some time after that.
Instead, she headed to Houston-based MD Anderson because "I wanted the best care possible. I wanted to be part of the decision-making. The doctors there, they have more time, they'll spend however long with you that you want to talk."
Within a week of contacting MD Anderson in May, the 48-year-old mother of three had a treatment plan and breast-conserving surgery, and she was home, recuperating. When she returned, they called to follow up on her care.
"In hindsight, it had probably been growing in my body for eight years," Ms. Reimer said of the cancer.
"A week or two wouldn't have made a difference. But psychologically, I wanted a treatment plan."
Top U.S. hospitals also greet patients at the airport, book hotels, arrange discounted airfares and try to schedule all diagnostic tests in a day.
The Cleveland Clinic even has a family doctor and nurse in Mississauga who arrange follow-up care for returning Canadian patients.
"We're not interested in stealing patients and we're not presumptuous enough to think we can take care of people anywhere in Canada from a remote control in Cleveland. That isn't good medical care," said Bill Ruschhaupt, vice-chairman for Cleveland Clinic's global patient services, who estimates that 600 Canadians go to his institution each year.
"We want to be very, very respectful."
There are no figures on how much Canadians spend on out-of-country treatment.
However, they are spending more on private care in Canada than they used to: $17.1-billion in 2002, according to the latest Canadian Institute for Health Information figures.
That compares to $7.4-billion in 1988.
While the cost for medical care in the United States may be prohibitive for many, some find more affordable options by getting second opinions by mail or through the Internet.
The Cleveland Clinic offers a second opinion on-line for under $565 (U.S.). Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, based in New York, does a mail version of that service for about $2,000.
"We offer the mail review [second opinion] for those who find it difficult to travel or for those with limited means," said Avi Fishman, administrator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering's international centre.
"Many Canadians may also come down here for treatment that is not yet available at home or treatments that may have to wait some time to get at home."
The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minn., has seen its Canadian clientele grow over the past few years, with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 of them travelling to its three clinics for care each year, said Misty Hathaway, the clinic's international relations administrator.
"It seems to relate to some access issues there," Ms. Hathaway said.
"And there is that issue of being able to address a lot of medical needs at one time in a very efficient way."
They also have a former patient -- a Canadian based in Thunder Bay -- who works their virtual Canadian office, returning telephone calls from the public.
So far, only MD Anderson has a dedicated office in Canada. And while Wendeline Jongenburger, director of international business development and marketing at MD Anderson, said it's been a success, no figures were provided on how many patients have gone down there for treatment.
"We're growing and we're very happy about that," she said.
[Insert snide comment here about 'free' national healh care system in Canada.]
Struggling? C'mon! Just because a Canadian citizen has to wait six months for heart surgery or kidney dialysis, that doesn't constitute "struggling".
Instead,call it "health care rationing by waiting list"
...there,that sounds better
are the Socialist Dems listening?
Hello Mrs. Clinton
Likely not. I have a guy I work with that absolutely worships the Canadian healthcare system. He claims that every article that is negative about it is based in right wing lies. Even if it is by the CBC itself. The guy is fairly well educated and very data driven except when it comes to healthcare and global warming. Anthing that doesn't fit his view is a rightwing lie.
Hey, I'll give you a second opinion for free -- "You're ugly, too".
She later said "It seems to relate to some animal issue" as rats chewed on her feet.
I suppose that if he's correct [about Health Canada), then a foreign healthcare company opening an office in Canada
soliciting customers should be a non-starter, eh?
I use to listen to Radio Canada Int'l on SW. There were even stories about Canadian brokers arranging US health
services for those that decided that they have had enough of the "access" problem.
I live near Rochester NY. We have a huge financial debocle called the "Fast Ferry." It's a ferry that travels from Rochester NY to Toronto Canada. There was an analysis done on Canadian and why they come ride the ferry. Quite a few came to the US for health care. Not even that phased the guy.
You can give your friend this article written by Michael bassett from New Zealand, the explemenatary welfare state laboratory in the English-sepaking world. Add to it he was a member of Socialist International with capital "S" worn on its sleeves:
Let's see what he thinks.
It seems even Fox News and a growing number of conservatives have thrown in the towel and surrendered to the global warming monkeys.
Michael Moore has another fictional documentary coming out in praise of Canada's health care.