Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The "Evil" of Private Health Care

Here we go again. After an inquiry looking at queue-jumping it seems the culprit is the evil private clinic, or is it?
If you have ever had serious health issues, one would not be so quick to jump to the conclusion that private clinics are one of the problems with publicly delivered health care. I know this because I have had to deal with the system, and trust is far from efficient. My other half had much of her stomach and intestine removed after cancer was found about 10 years ago. Four years ago cysts developed large enough to block intestines enough that eating solid foods would cause extreme swelling, pain, and of course discomfort. To top it off she was also diagnosed with Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Now I get the specialists are overworked, but what about the family care to deal with the day to day issues while you wait?
For 2 years we dealt with our local family Dr. who seemed to think the only course of action was to go home and rest. The pain from from the MPS was to the point that many days were spent in bed, and the local family Dr. did not want to prescribe pain medication. To book an appointment was a 2-3 week wait. That's when I stumbled upon a private wellness center right here in Calgary. After going in for an interview with the clinic to see if it would fit the needs, we decided to give it a try. During the interview the first thing the Dr. told us was he could not get into the specialist any quicker, but would advocate with more than a faxed request. In the meantime, the clinic jumped on the care portion. Two meetings a week with the Dr. for approximately 45 minutes each time, a dietitian assigned to ensure proper nutrition, a kinesiologist, deep tissue massage, chiropractor, as well as pain management, all included in the yearly membership. Was this the evil of private health care? A Dr. with the time to properly practice medicine and look after a patient to let them live with dignity? Evil indeed.
Over two years before a specialist was finally available to look at the stomach issues, only to find that because of the prior operations he was not able to help and put her back in the queue. This happened two more times with much frustration, finally a surgeon accepted. Medical records were very complete, so how is it so much Dr. and patient time was wasted? After 26 months the chronic pain center called to deal with the MPS. What did the specialists have to say? The private clinic was doing everything the same as they would. Oh that evil private care!!
What is my point to the rambling? Private clinics are not an evil would best sum it up. The public sector has been broken for many years, politicians don't have the courage to make the necessary changes to provide proper health care. If you mention change people think the cost of quality health care will break them. If your not willing to change a system, it will never be fixed. Private clinics offer an option to those that are not happy with the status quo, providing a level of service that every Albertan should receive. Those content with the public delivered system can keep that option if they desire, I would rather see a privately delivered, publicly funded system. Especially seeing how good the Evil private care can be.
Rather than be angry with those supporting these private clinics, maybe it is time to take a hard look at the public system.


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