When I was in training, most family doctors worked only with other family doctors and registered nurses. Today, my health care team is rich with a variety of critical skills. But what's missing -- and should be an essential part of any healthcare team -- is the digital expert.
Calls for a government-operated national drug insurance program have been getting louder over the past few months, culminating most recently with premiers from across the country signing a "prescription" for "National Drug Coverage." The notion that a national government-run drug plan is the obvious solution is misguided.
I had a vision of cultivating a practice where patients felt heard and cared for, and where I could provide full-spectrum family medicine care, including obstetrical care. My practice embraced the principles of patient-centered collaborative care. It employed the latest in 21st-century technology. I loved my work and my patients. But after five years of constant fighting with multiple private insurance companies in order to get paid, I ultimately made the heart-wrenching decision to close my practice down. The emotional stress was too great.
Right now the strategy seems to be to make it as difficult as possible for families to navigate the system and find the care their loved one needs. There are so many rules which means that the patient isn't eligible for this or doesn't qualify for that.
Many doctors who work in group practices are now paid a flat fee, per patient, per year. It essentially means the physician gets the same amount regardless of whether you have just one appointment or 10 appointments a year. So a doctor paid on that basis doesn't really lose money if a patient misses an appointment. However, protecting the doctor's income is not the sole motivation for imposing a "no-show" fee.
Canada should and could have a role, working through the World Health Organization, to create such basic systems, through international aid. But, it must also look internally to the failure of our own health system to serve the needs of our Northern peoples where TB is highest (234 cases per 100,000) primarily because of inadequate housing and overcrowding.
It is not too late to exercise your democratic rights and voice your opinions. I may not be old enough to vote in the polls yet, but I am definitely old enough to vote at the cash register. I have also had the honour and privilege to speak with thousands and thousands of people across Canada about GMOs, and it's pretty clear.
Since 2006, British Columbia has spent more than $1 billion to improve primary health care. So have B.C. patients benefited from such a massive investment? Sadly, it appears not.
Health Canada has recently announced a proposed amendment that will require licensed producers (LPs) under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) to submit information about the doctors who are prescribing cannabis to provincial medical licensing authorities. In my opinion, this is another backhanded attempt to further de-legitimize the traction cannabis has been gaining in Canada and to appease the powerful institutions that surround federally authorized access.
Those who suggest changes to the health care system are generally met with cries of "treason" and are invited to move south of the border. The superiority of our model to that of the U.S. has become such a part of our national identity that we've become reticent to experiment with new ideas. Calls for reform invariably spark fears of a plot to put an end to the free system and make us more like the Americans. So we're better than The United States, but should we really aim so low?
Though she made clear she could not tolerate a drug and asked for a substitute, her request was ignored; while seeking holistic treatment at a spa, she found they took a more complete medical history than any hospital had; as her lump grew in size, her doctors seemed rather blase about the lack of diagnosis and the slowness with which appointments proceeded.
Scientific and technological developments mean that people with complex health problems are living longer, with a better quality of life. If we want to maintain this quality of life, we have to bank on the contributions and expertise of all our nurses. I can already hear our detractors saying, "You're doing that so as to demand more pay for nurses!"
While the international competition in research and development is formidable, anybody who gets to work with our young people knows that Canada's future is bright. They continue to rank globally at or near the top in math and literacy skills and our 15 year olds just ranked first in problem solving.
We must face the reality of people like Kenroy and Denville who are punished as a result of laws that do not recognize the situation on the ground. We must address the unfair conditions under which we bring people over for this program, and provide them the services they are due. Canada set out to have a universal healthcare system that covers everybody, and it's about time that we did just that.
Mr. Alexander, I turn to you for guidance on what to do the next time this patient comes to my clinic: a gay man who fled his country because it is a crime to be homosexual. This man who was beaten and persecuted by his community and his family. He is not able to work in Canada because he can not acquire a work visa and instead volunteers with local charities.
What we need is a health care system that's based on need, not ability to pay. But we also need social policies that create the conditions for good health. The evidence also shows us that lifestyle choices such as decreasing smoking, exercise and good diet increase proportionally to an individual's social and economic status.