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Friday, July 27, 2012

Canadian Health Care for Foreigners

Today was one of those days when I was thinking of what to blog about.  I then read a blog from Paul Levy’s "Not Running a Hospital."  Paul is a blogger's blogger; he has been at it a long time and does a great job.

This morning, he wrote about his recent vacation trip to Canada.  While on vacation, one of the individuals with whom he was traveling injured himself swimming and the injury was serious enough that he had to be transported to a hospital.  Paul was well aware of Canadian health care and felt very comfortable with his friend being treated there.  What was unexpected, though, was that as a foreigner to Canada, the patient had to personally register and prove his or her ability to pay before being triaged, no exceptions.  So the patient had to walk to another part of the hospital to fill out a lot of paperwork, including a promise to be bound by the legal system of the province in the event of a malpractice claim even before being triaged.  Say what you want about our health care system (actually, with all of our faults, it's the best in the world, hands down) that would never happen.  Not only are there laws prohibiting it, family members can fill out the paperwork, all of that occurs in or adjacent to the ED and first and foremost, you are triaged before anything else.  The patient also needed a CT scan; however, that hospital didn't have one.  So, Paul and his group of vacationers had to drive their friend / the patient to a hospital 20 minutes away.  They arrived at the hospital only to be told that they needed to fill out all of the same paperwork again.  They convinced the registration person that they already had done so and they were told to go to Radiology unassisted.  Radiology was locked tighter than a drum.  They searched for someone to help them and finally found a custodian who helped them find a technician.  Paul blogged that the overall medical care in both hospitals was excellent.  He wrote that people were friendly and attentive.  Unfortunately, the rest of the experience left a great deal to be desired.  All that I can say is wow, what a difference in their ED experience and the Canadian approach to service excellence.

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