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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Healthcare oberservations

I've had my OHIP coverage for almost 9-months now, and thank God for it. I've been able to get a physical,  tests for a stomach ailment, and recently I was in a bicycle accident that I needed to be checked out for injury from. In the States, all of these care services would've meant cash out of pocket, and I would have had to decide whether I could afford to have them tended to by professionals, or trust WebMD with my health.

I've noticed through these events some differences in how doctors in Canada deliver health services. Mind you, this may just be with MY doctor, but I suspect core differences in how doctors are compensated may be at the root of it. What I've noticed is that if I don't bring an issue up specifically with the doctor, he's generally not going to inquire further.

So when I had my accident, I went in and he asked where it hurt, and I said my wrist, and he looked at it, I told him the rest just felt like pulled muscles (from head to toe), and he was willing to accept this. He didn't start poking and prodding, "how does this feel? Any pain here?" the sort of thing I'm used to in the U.S. - where they LOOK for problems to treat.

My theory is: they LOOK in the U.S. because it's an opportunity for the doctor to bill more time, or create more work for, let's say, the physical therapy department. Here, the province is footing most of the bill, family doctors have a lot of patients to see; there's not a profit motive for further inquiry.

I'm learning I need to be my own biggest advocate for my health in Canada. I go in with a list of questions to be sure I ask the doctor to cover everything I'm concerned about.

In the old world, too many useless questions and tests, procedures and expenses. In Canada, I need to be sure I'm getting all the care I need for any condition.

My love had to speak with her doctor about something the other day, so she called the office. The doctor wouldn't speak to her, but briefly answered questions through his assistant while she could tell he was standing right by her. Why wouldn't he just get on the phone and answer himself? Apparently, he only gets paid by the Province if he sees her in the office, in person. So they kept trying to schedule an appointment three weeks away (the first opening) for a question she needed answered now. So its not only the U.S. system that causes healthcare to be delivered in some backward ways. 

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