Have you ever flipped the tv on and found yourself on re-runs? I never thought that would be my life however it was my life today.
In 2015, the producer of the Canadian current events show 16×9 contacted me. This is our (Canadians) version of Dateline! The subject matter was inbound medical tourism ~ this episode was to be appropriately called, Profitable Patients. The creation of the show was quite a learning event for me in many respects. Of course the whole, “lights, camera & action” was a bit daunting but as a subject matter expert, I was subject matter shocked!!
In 2015 Canada was just one year shy of exceeding the worst wait times for healthcare since initial tracking began in 1993. We were waist deep in healthcare delivery failure so it was rather staggering to find out that Toronto’s University Hospital Network (UHN) was accepting foreign patients as a means to generate revenue for the hospital. Can I write a cheque to get to the front of the line for a knee replacement? No. Can anyone in Canada that pays taxes towards our “free” healthcare system be liberated from a potentially multiple year wait for an orthopedic procedure simply by digging into their savings? No.
There are 35+ million shareholders of our Canadian healthcare system being pushed back while international patients are being scheduled and serviced. UHN reported a profit, in 2015, of $30 million dollars. The hospitals referred to this practice of inbound medical tourism as “humanitarian”. How many instances are there where humanitarian organizatons can report $30 million dollars in revenues yet unable to produce documentation as to where those dollars are going?
Clearly Canada is willing to operate a two-tier healthcare system. Sadly it took a brave nurse to blow the whistle and further forensic investigations ~ but it is happening and it is profitable.
Canada ~ it’s time to remove the conversation about medical tourism from behind the secret veil.