Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Medicine Could Be in Canada

In the States, it's called concierge medicine.

Michael Campagna finally had enough of the jammed waiting room at the orthopedic surgeon’s office, the rapid-fire exams once he got in and the lack of results with his chronic ankle and knee problems. He’d gone 25 years without health insurance, got it shortly before a motorcycle accident, then wondered why he’d bothered.

“It was a nightmare,” he said of the three-month regimen of twice monthly visits in Alexandria, Virginia. So he entered a small but fast-growing segment of American health care, paying US$1500 a year to see a doctor who offers a “personalized” approach known as concierge medicine.

Now the waiting room he visits has two chairs, one for him and another empty. Instead of seven minutes with the doctor, he gets at least 30, plus email consultations day and night, an annual physical lasting 2.5 hours, appointments within 24 hours, follow-up when he’s referred to a specialist and an intense focus on preventive care. “It’s like old times,” says Campagna, in his mid-60s, “when the family knew the doctor and we had house calls. ... This allows a doctor to be a good doctor. It unleashes the inner doctor.”

But because some people can't afford such care, some leftists think no Canadian should have access to this system.