S H E A LT H I N S U R A N C E
N AT I LLA
AT M E
H E A LT H Y W O R
P R I VAT E
YOUR GUIDE TO PRIVATE MEDICINE
E A LT
RO P ME
E A TIV AL TO
A special advertising publication
– CORPORATE PROFILE –
We’d like to dispel the
who actually uses health
care services like ours.
It’s not just an option for
the wealthy. It’s simply
for those who want to be
proactive with their
own health and want to
ensure they get
the thorough and
collaborative health care
they feel they deserve.
Provital Physician & Co-owner
Dr. Donovan Kreutzer
Provital takes proactive approach to your health
MOVING TO THE United States to an integrated, collaborative form of health with even a traditional benefit plan or health Name: Provital Health and Wellness
practice medicine was not an option for Dr. care,” says Sengar. spending account, our clients can typically
Donovan Kreutzer and Dr. Sarit Sengar. Each client enjoys 24/7 physician avail- recoup a significant portion of their annual fees, Location: Suite 204, 2031 33rd Ave. S.W.
Working together for years in a busy ability as well as full access to Provital’s team sometimes even the full amount, as long as they Calgary, T2T 1Z5
hybrid family practice/walk-in clinic in Cal- of specialists, including an initial “compre- access the services covered by their plan.” Contact info:
gary, they knew there had to be a better way hensive, head-to-toe health assessment and Provital’s team also takes the time to Phone: 403-685-4520
to practice the thorough and collaborative tailored health plan” involving the full range work with each new client to review existing Fax: 403-685-4525
medicine they felt their patients deserved. of Provital specialists as a basis for ongoing benefit plans and to show them exactly how E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Critical to that idea was the need to be able “preventive and proactive health care.” Blood much they can reduce their out-of-pocket ex-
to spend the time each patient truly required tests are drawn on site and sent to outside labs pense by each year. The remaining balance Web: www.provital.ca
and to focus on two shared health care for analysis as a means of saving their clients can then be claimed as a medical expense on Services: Providers of thorough and
philosophies — practicing both proactive and time. When referrals to outside specialists are each client’s tax return. collaborative health care services to
preventative medicine. required, Kreutzer says, Provital physicians “We’d like to dispel the misconception individuals, families and corporate clients.
Dr. Kreutzer and Dr. Sengar wanted a and staff spend the time needed to advocate about who actually uses health-care services Provital provides timely, preventative and
middle ground and they believe they have for their clients in order to help expedite like us,” Kreutzer says.“It’s not just an option proactive health care, with the services
found it with the formation of Provital Health needed consultations. for the wealthy. It’s simply for those who want of family physicians, naturopathic doctor,
and Wellness. For this access to Provital’s full team of to be proactive with their own health and want chiropractor, nurses, dietitian, exercise
The Provital clinic, centrally located in specialists (including educational seminars, to ensure they get the thorough and collabora- kinesiologists, psychologists, massage
southwest Calgary, provides what they call workshops, bootcamps and so on), its clients tive health care they feel they deserve. Our therapists, pedorthist and pharmacist
“truly collaborative care,” including the do pay an annual fee. Adult fees are $3,900 clients range from young families to single on site – plus numerous allied specialist
services of three physicians, a naturopathic in the first year and $3,600 a year thereafter, professionals to boomers to retirees to compa- partners.
doctor, chiropractor, nurses, and specialists while children under 17 are $750 and $600, nies — and everyone in between.”
such as a dietitian, exercise kinesiologists, respectively. There are also discounted rates “I think the most important thing to know
psychologists, massage therapists, pedorthist for families, snowbirds, students and even about our team here at Provital is that we are
and pharmacist, plus referrals to numerous custom corporate plans. all here based on our desire to practice better
allied specialists. “One of the biggest misconceptions about collaborative medicine and to deliver the
“So many health concerns are interrelated our services is that all fees represent out-of-pock- preventative and proactive health care our
that it just makes sense to be able to provide et expenses,” Kreutzer says. “The reality is that clients and their families deserve.”
2 Options | Fall 2011
By the numbers
Total number of procedures Canadians were waiting
for in 2010, an increase of 19 per cent from 694,161
procedures in 2009.
In 2010, the average number of weeks Albertans waited
for treatment after a referral from a family doctor. 4 Boomer time bomb
Fraser Institute As Canada’s baby boomers grow older, demands on the medical
system will increase along with waiting times.
The percentage that waiting times exceed reasonable 6 Fast track to health
values across all specialties, according to specialists On a busy schedule and lacking a family doctor, Calgarian Rob
Marcotte purchased a private medical plan for himself and his family.
7 Taking charge
44,680 Paying for health care is worth it for the Ellis family — not only for the
access to a wide range of health care, but also for peace of mind.
Number of patients who received elective treatment in
another country during 2009/10. 8 Young again
Fraser Institute Calgarian Dave Balsom, 54, admits feeling like a 75-year-old before sign-
ing on at a private medical facility. Now he feels young for his age.
4.4 million Cross-border docs
8 Canadian doctors see the Mayo Clinic as an opportunity to advance
Fifteen per cent of the population aged 12 and older, or
the number of people in 2010 who reported they did not medicine and make a difference.
have a regular medical doctor.
Statistics Canada 10 Back to normal
Unable to manage his back pain and faced with a long wait time to see a
660 specialist, Irvine-area rancher Graham Good opted for private treatment.
Number of hospital patients who were awaiting
12 Timing is everything
continuing-care placements in the fourth quarter of 2010. For Calgarian Greta Joy, waiting for surgery was not an option in her
— Wait Time Alliance of medical professionals busy schedule as a student at the University of Western Ontario.
13% 13 Common bond
The percentage of acute-care hospital capacity in Canada Decades after having surgery at the Mayo Clinic, Calgarian Carol Allan
has reconnected with the facility as the pen-pal of a young patient there.
that is taken up by chronic-care patients — mostly the
14 Worth the investment
— Wait Time Alliance of medical professionals
Diagnosed with prostate cancer, Edson-area farmer James Van Alstyne
picked up the tab for surgery at a private facility in Kalispell, Mont.
15 Expanding coverage
Canadian companies will soon have the same access to Mayo Clinic
insurance that individuals and families have enjoyed since last April.
YOUR GUIDE TO PRIVATE MEDICINE
is a special publication of the Calgary Herald CORPORATE PROFILES
Publication date: Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011
Special Projects Manager:
Barb Livingstone, 403-235-7339
2 Provital Health & Wellness
5 Copeman Healthcare Centre
Advertising: Susan Walker, 403-235-8784
Design: Jennifer Worley 9 Preventous Collaborative Health
Cover: Photo by Wil Andruschak
Options | Fall 2011 3
ticking bomb AS CANADA’S BABY BOOMER POPULATION GETS OLDER,
HOSPITAL WAIT TIMES ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE
By BRIAN BURTON psychiatrists, obstetricians, orthopaedic deal with the wait times of the public system.
surgeons and other medical professionals. “It’s been a bit of an uphill struggle for
demographic time bomb is ticking in In Alberta, the report says, some 660 us,” he says. “We want to provide better
the overburdened Canadian public hospital patients were awaiting continuing-care We want to provide health care but we inevitably have to turn
health-care system, a new report shows. placements in the fourth quarter of 2010. Health back to the system for insured services.”
Chronic-care patients — mostly the elderly Minister Gene Zwozdesky has told the Herald better health care but Some patients explore surgical options in
— now take up 13 per cent of acute-care hospital
capacity in Canada, according to Time Out,
that number has since been reduced to 470
patients and six per cent of hospital beds. But
we inevitably have to the United States, but with fairly routine
procedures costing $30,000 to $40,000, those
a Report on Wait Times in Canada, released
in June by the Wait Time Alliance of medical
the much longer typical stays by chronic-care
patients may mean that they’re consuming a
turn back to the system are alternatives few can afford. Instead, they
must wait for service that is doled out over
professionals. The report says the problem is much larger percentage of total hospital days. for insured services. time to prevent budget overruns.
expected to get worse as the huge baby boom As the baby boomer population moves “The biggest problem we have today
generation gets older. upward in age, it approaches the time when And the WTA adds that no acceptable wait is that when the (Canadian) system was
“As our society ages, more patients will have declining health implies greater demands on times have yet been established for hundreds created the (boomer) population was 40
chronic health conditions such as dementia, the health-care system. of other procedures and treatments. years younger. People in their twenties don’t
which in turn creates more demand for Right now, Alberta’s health-care system gets “Beyond those five priority areas, have a lot of medical issues. But the aging
chronic-care support,” the report says. good grades for delivering hip replacements, governments are reporting on just 10 per cent population is going to become thicker and
The Time Out report outlines a backlog radiation oncology and elective open-heart of the important procedures selected by the the wait times can only become longer.”
syndrome in which chronic-care patients surgery — within recommended maximum wait WTA,” says a press release accompanying the Increasing immigration from less developed
run up a mean length of stay in hospital of times. And the province has also made some report. “Those grades that could be assigned countries is also adding the complexity of
26 days, compared with four days for acute- progress in reducing wait times for magnetic for these other procedures/treatments are very difficult diseases such as malaria to the mix,
care patients. Without sufficient long-term resonance imaging, although no national low in most instances,” says the news release, he says.
care facilities, the system is forced to hold benchmark has been established. But some issued by WTA Chair Dr. Lorne Bellan. “This Kreutzer says the only solution he can see is a
chronic patients in acute-care beds. Acute- 40 per cent of Alberta cataract patients do not is a tremendous concern because it translates two-tiered system in which affluent Canadians
care facilities are then blocked from accepting receive surgeries within the recommended into thousands of Canadians waiting too long buy comprehensive medical insurance and
patients for scheduled surgeries and incoming 16-week maximum wait time and at least 30 per for treatment and care.” governments provide care for the less affluent, in
patients from emergency departments. And, cent do not receive knee replacements within Dr. Donovan Kreutzer founded the private a manner similar to several European countries.
with emergency departments overloaded, the recommended 26-week time frame. Provital Health and Wellness clinic in Calgary He says the Alberta government has installed
paramedics are unable to release patients to While the Wait Time Alliance (WTA) gives as an alternative to the frenetic pace of most new leaders at Alberta Health Services but that
hospital care and return to primary duties. provinces and the federal government credit for general practitioners’ offices. His clinic hasn’t changed the essential problem.
“(Chronic-care) patients themselves are reducing wait times in the five targeted areas, charges the public health-care system for “I don’t think that by doing the same thing,
suffering from a lack of timely access to more “WTA notes that this improvement is related insured services in the standard fashion, but we’re going to achieve different results.
appropriate types of care,” the report adds. to meeting maximum acceptable wait-time provides a slate of additional health services “When I see a patient with a hernia, I’m
The Wait Times Alliance (WTA) is made benchmarks, not ideal wait-time targets. As such, for an annual fee that enables him and his thinking, ‘My God man, you’re going to
up of national organizations representing the progress achieved should be seen as an initial colleagues to see fewer patients and spend be walking around in pain for six months.’
anesthesiologists, emergency doctors, step toward improving Canadians’ access to more time with each one. I’ve had people actually go to Montana for
paediatric surgeons, radiation oncologists, care, not as an accomplishment,” the report says. But eventually, Kreutzer says, his patients must hemorrhoid surgery.”
4 Options | Fall 2011
– CORPORATE PROFILE –
a highly personalized
approach to personal,
family and corporate
health care that
in prevention and
Dr. Beth Donaldson, family physician.
A new standard of health care in Canada
COPEMAN HEALTHCARE SET a new specialists, nurses, health coaches and other health team. This advanced technology is Name: Copeman Healthcare Centre
standard for primary health care in Canada specialized professionals that work together for made available to every client of the Centre.
when it opened its doors in Vancouver the early detection and treatment of disease. The Centre offers a warm and comfort- Location: 4th floor, 628 12th Ave. S.W.
in November 2005, offering each client a The Centre is the only one of its kind ing environment as well as an atmosphere Calgary, T2R 0H6
personalized and expert team of health to have a program that recognizes that of genuine caring that belies the size and Contact info:
professionals focused on all aspects of complete wellness must address all three sophistication of its operations. Phone: 403-270-CARE (2273)
their health. areas of physical, psychological and brain “We are committed to a large, expert staff E-mail: email@example.com
When the organization added a state- health. Copeman’s brain health program and the most current science and technol- Web: www.copemanhealthcare.com
of-the-art, centrally located 17,000-square- is the first of its kind and is focused on early ogy, but creating a very personalized and
foot facility in Calgary in 2008, it raised intervention for age and disease-related highly available service is just as important Services:
the bar again by creating a western cognitive decline. to us,” says Copeman. n Advanced personal and family
Canadian network of doctors, specialized Copeman Healthcare has become Can- “We have a simple motto, which is to treat health care
professionals and researchers to develop ada’s leader in collaborative, team-based every client like we would have our own n Integrated physical, psychological
and implement some of the most ad- health care, but the services and technolo- loved ones treated. Every client’s health and brain health
vanced programs of screening, diagnosis, gies it has developed are now being shaped team is dedicated to them and committed to n Exercise medicine and physiotherapy
prevention and health management avail- for implementation throughout the world. looking after every aspect of their health.” n Comprehensive health assessments
able in the world today. One of the Centre’s greatest contri- Although the Centre has numerous pro- n Corporate wellness
According to Founder and CEO Don butions to the field of prevention and grams and servixces that can be subscribed
Copeman, the company began with a health management is its computerized to, its most popular offering is an all-inclu-
simple premise — to deliver unparalleled Health Management System, which is a sive prevention and health management
access to medical expertise while providing secure, on-line personal health record program.
each patient with a highly personalized and combined with sophisticated risk assess- This service costs $3,900 per adult in
“unhurried” experience. ments, health surveillance and self-man- the first year of service and $2,900 per
In addition to expert doctors, the Centres agement tools. year thereafter. It includes a comprehen-
are staffed with a complimentary team that Changes in laboratory results, measures sive, four-hour annual health assessment
includes psychologists, psychiatrists, neuro- and lifestyle trigger personalized reminders and a complete package of professional
psychologists, physiotherapists, registered about important risk factors and transmit both services to support a client’s individual
dietitians, kinesiologists, exercise medicine positive and negative trends to the patient’s health plan.
Options | Fall 2011 5
Preventive care an asset to
By BRIAN BURTON treatments, with their heavy costs, could
be anticipated. Now provinces are
For cash-strapped and overburdened spending one-third to one-half of their
Alberta Health Services, it seems to go budgets for health care, while other
from bad to worse, descending at times public programs go begging for money.
into farce. He says he and his partners created
In July, news emerged that an unknown the Preventous Collaborative Health
number of calls to the Alberta HealthLink clinic to offer an alternative to the
information hotline were misdirected to Canadian family-practice model
a phone-sex operation. Worried callers that has become a “numbers game”
to HealthLink, it can be assumed, saw of five-minute, single-issue patient
little humour in the situation caused by a examinations by overworked GPs who
phone directory publisher who printed see scores of patients a day.
the wrong number. “I mean no disrespect to my (GP)
When he moved to Calgary in 2008 and couldn’t find a family doctor, Rob Marcotte purchased a family package at For AHS it was a case of colleagues” who, he says,
Copeman Healthcare Centre where he had access to a diverse team of health-care professionals.
insult added to a long string of are doing their best within
— Wil Andruschak photo
injuries, some apparently self- the system. “There just
‘They go the extra mile for you’ inflicted: the chief executive
officer of AHS and four board
aren’t enough doctors — and
if there were, could we pay
members resigned last fall; them all?” he asks.
By COLLEEN BIONDI exercises for his IT band which was tight and routine queue jumping by Rather than remain within
inflexible from running. Plus, she helped him VIPs has been alleged; more the system, he and his
step up a training schedule for the swimming than 200 patients are alleged partners created Preventous,
s an executive with a Bermuda-based component of a mini-triathlon he competed in this to have died awaiting lung Don Copeman which offers uninsured,
financial services company, 40-year-old past spring. surgeries; angry doctors say preventive health-care
Rob Marcotte is on the fast track. With When he declared he wanted to run another they’ve been threatened or services for an annual fee,
a wife and two young daughters and a travel marathon in 2011, Lorraine Weir — the wellness bribed to keep silent about while billing the public
schedule that would bring a strong man to his coach — forced him to come up with a race and system inadequacies; and, system for the delivery of
knees, time is precious indeed. When he moved to game plan. She held him accountable and both the system is facing a raft of basic, insured services.
Calgary from the island in 2008, he couldn’t find challenged him and supported him when he was lawsuits potentially topping $1 Annual fees enable a team
a family doctor and had little time to deal with it. floundering. “I appreciate someone holding up a billion in damages. of doctors, kinesiologists,
After two gruelling days in the emergency ward for mirror to say: ‘This is what you are saying, but this The Wait Time Alliance registered dieticians, nurses
a medical crisis, he sought counsel from a friend. is what you are doing,’” he admits. As a result of his of medical professionals and a psychologist, to spend
That friend recommended Copeman Healthcare work with Weir, he ran his fastest marathon in 10 said in June that a large part as long as necessary with
Centre in Calgary. years this past May. of the hospital overloading Dr. Rohan each patient to develop
The family package Marcotte purchased offers For this all-encompassing plan, Marcotte paid problem could be eliminated Bissoondath preventive health-care
ready access to a diverse team of health-care $500 per month (additional sessions with the by building more chronic- plans and diagnose any
professionals. The key component is an eight-hour nutritionist, kinesiologist and wellness coach are care facilities, thereby preventing interrelated medical issues.
annual assessment. This involves a full work-up, typically over and above the monthly fee, but backlogs throughout the system. “We’ve got a healthier group of
including a hearing, vision and stress test, plus one Marcotte was subject to a pilot project where all “It’s the same issue we’ve had for people” at Preventous as a result of
hour to talk to your doctor. “I think that is really three — plus his doctor — met to discuss, track years,” says Dr. Rohan Bissoondath, concentrating on preventive medicine,
unusual,” says Marcotte. You also get one hour and give feedback about his progress every two founder of Preventous, Calgary’s he says. “Waistlines are down,
each year with a wellness coach, a nutritionist weeks). Although out of his own pocket, it was first private healthcare clinic. “We’re cholesterol levels are down and blood
and a kinesiologist. Marcotte’s interest was in right for him and for his family. His wife has also backed up all the way to the parking pressures are controlled.” He says
prevention and goal-setting for a healthy future. had the full round of services and one daughter lot. Everybody’s doing their best, prevention is far better for patients
“When you have a young family and work so got immediate help -- off hours — for strep throat. but you can’t get your beds empty and much less costly for the publicly
much, you don’t really step back and think: ‘Am “We didn’t have to wait or go into the office or to accept new patients.” He says he funded system than the expensive
I going in the direction I want to go?’ Turning 40 emergency room. They go the extra mile for knows the problem first-hand from business of trying to repair people after
makes you think more about it.” you and when something happens, it makes it all his work at the downtown Sheldon they’re sick.
The nutritionist examined how Marcotte could worthwhile.” Chumir clinic and, before that, at the “Instead of pulling people out of the
be healthier on the road. Shrink portion sizes, she What is next for Marcotte? He’ll continue to work old Eighth and Eighth Clinic. river, we’ve got to get upstream and
said. And for breakfast, walk to the local grocery with Weir online from Bermuda (where he returned Dr. Bissoondath says waiting lists, keep them from falling in.”
store to purchase fresh fruit rather than tackle the this summer), as he wants to improve his public queue jumping and all the other ills of Bissoondath confirms wait times in
breakfast buffet. “Every time you walk away, you speaking skills. the Canadian public health-care system the public system are one of the big
make a couple of changes,” says Marcotte. “You are But he has a great foundation from his time at are merely symptoms of a deeper drivers of his business.
more aware.” Copeman. “I have the building blocks,” says Marcotte. sickness. He says the system was created
The kinesiologist e-mailed him 20 specific “I have a better overall approach to my life.” before today’s advanced medical SEE QUICK ACCESS, PAGE 7
6 Options | Fall 2011
We simply keep people out of
hospital. Preventing what’s
preventable would eliminate the
funding issue in public health care.
QUICK ACCESS, FROM PAGE 6
He says Preventous provides quick access to its own GPs
and draws blood on site for testing at outside labs rather than
sending patients to a lab to wait in line. But he admits there’s
only so much he can do.
“Patients ask me, ‘Can I see a specialist quicker if I join
Preventous?’ and the answer is no.” He says Preventous does its
best to advocate for patients who need to see specialists and tries
to ensure that the right diagnostic images and tests are ordered, so
that specialists won’t have to order new ones with additional wait
times. He adds there’s flexibility in the public system to expedite
imaging for urgent cases and there’s also the option of immediate
access at private imaging clinics, for patients who can afford to pay.
But he’s emphatic that the public system is “broken” and
that a fix will require a major public outcry Canada-wide, as
well as a commitment to exploring new ideas for the health
Provital clients Doug and Tara Ellis have made health care a priority for themselves and their children Ciara and Torin.
care of all Canadians. — Wil Andruschak photo
Wait times, he says, are the proof that health care can never be
entirely free and that a sustainable system needs to be based on a
new model. But he says a mix of public and private insurance may
be “too simplistic” and may be only part of a “sustainable solution.”
‘It is about continuity of care and the
In addition to funding mechanisms, Bissoondath says, options
such as nurse practitioners and an expansion of midwifery need to
be considered as ways to reduce the cost of quality care. Of course,
expectation we can get in quickly’
he says, prevention needs to be at the core of any new system. By COLLEEN BIONDI clinic and one is on call every night). happened. ‘Take a picture of the rash
Don Copeman, founder of Copeman Healthcare Centres in He walked through the symptoms and e-mail it to the clinic. We will have
Calgary and Vancouver, says private clinics that concentrate hen the Ellis family of with her and confirmed a kidney a dermatologist look at it right away
on preventive care are an asset to the public system. Calgary (parents Doug infection. Doug was at the pharmacy and give you our diagnosis.’
“We simply keep people out of hospital,” Copeman says. and Tara; children Ciara in 15 minutes to pick up the prescribed Even baby Torin has had his turn at
He notes that heart disease is Canada’s biggest single killer and Torin) learned about the opening medication. “That was worth every Provital. When his ear began hurting
and 80 per cent of heart disease is preventable. Obesity, some of Provital Health & Wellness, Tara penny,” says Tara. one day just before vacation, the
diabetes and some forms of cancer can also be prevented by was pregnant with Torin. The family Five-year-old Ciara had a painful parents thought it was the proverbial ear
better health and lifestyle management. had a general practitioner on board wart on her foot, but was traumatized infection. They saw the doctor within
“Preventing what’s preventable would eliminate the funding but it often took a week to get an by the notion of it coming off. The one hour and it turned out to be a false
issue in public healthcare,” he says. But the public system is appointment and sessions were brief. doctor patiently explained the alarm, so no antibiotic was required.
geared to what he calls “reactive medicine” and, he says, it will “With the new baby coming, I thought procedure to the young patient and “We get fantastic advice and
never have sufficient funding for serious preventive strategies. I would investigate it,” says Tara. She was gentle throughout. After putting service,” says Tara. “It is about
He says there’s a legitimate role for private clinics to do that talked to clinic director Jesse Stein a band-aid on the wound, Ciara was continuity of care and the expectation
work and take a load off hospitals in the process. about the variety of services offered at off and running and relaxed during we can get in quickly and without a
Copeman points out that many preventable health issues, such the clinic and was hooked. “At Provital her follow-up appointment. “The kids huge fight,” adds Doug.
as obesity, smoking and alcohol use, have psychological roots and you have access to health care from all are completely comfortable with all The family tab for Provital’s all-
that’s why his clinics include psychologists. But publicly insured angles.” three doctors,” explains Tara. “And the inclusive service is $7,000 per annum
services don’t include preventive psychological counselling. Fortunately, the Ellis group is a appointments are as long as they need ($3,000 per adult and $500 per child).
“Quality health care requires more of a collaborative healthy bunch. But they have used to be.” Doug is an information technology
approach,” he says. “People understand there’s a lot more to clinic services several times over the Doug has had “bumps and bruises” contractor, who is on a hiatus from
health care (than treating illness). People are smart, they’re last two years and are grateful Provital from playing soccer and has welcomed work, and Tara is home with the
educated, they’re more affluent and they want to live a long was available to them in their times of sessions with the clinic’s registered children, but as far as this expense is
time.” And he says they’re increasingly willing to pay for need. massage therapist. And when he concerned, the Ellises are clear.
additional services beyond those insured by the public system. One particular Friday night, Tara felt told clinic staff about a rash he had “We’ve decided to prioritize this,”
“The market (for private clinics) is being driven by lack of ill; she was feverish and had back pain. developed on a recent trip to Mexico says Doug.
access in the public system,” he says. “But I tell people there’s She called Provital after hours and her (the rash was gone by the time he got “Nobody wants to get sick,” adds
something better than fast access to a specialist. That’s not own doctor picked up the phone (there back to Calgary), they had a suggestion Tara. “But Provital takes the fear out
needing a specialist in the first place.” are three general practitioners at the for the next time something like that of it.”
Options | Fall 2011 7
Mayo Clinic allows Canadian
docs to make most of training
By BRIAN BURTON and arduous training. Most people go through it
‘I am in better
because they actually want to do the work.
r. Stephen Cassivi is a self-described “I’m a big proponent of national health care and
health now “proud Canadian,” a supporter of
national health care — and director of
Mayo has been a big proponent of health care as
a right.” But he says the people running Canadian
than I was at 45’
lung transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. health care are “faced with only one metric. How
Cassivi says he found himself in the United many dollars have you spent on health care?”
States because there’s more opportunity to use his Dusanka Anastasijevik, international relations
By COLLEEN BIONDI very extensive and specialized training consultant with Mayo Clinic in
there than there is in Canada. Rochester, rattles off the names of a
ave Balsom has had a robust A francophone Canadian from dozen Canadian surgeons in leading
career at Suncor. He worked in Windsor, Ont., he took surgical training at positions at her facility. They include Dr.
Fort McMurray for 29 years and For Dave Balsom, a client at Preventous the University of Toronto, where he also John Noseworthy, president and chief
since 2005, the 54-year-old married, father Collaborative Health, spending the equivalent did a research fellowship and a Master of executive officer of Mayo Clinic and his
of one-third the cost of an annual vacation on
of four has been at the corporate office his health is well worth the investment.
Science degree in transplantation. predecessor, Dr. Hugh Smith.
here in Calgary. But while his career was — Wil Andruschak photo Then, in 2000, he had the Another of Mayo Clinic’s Canadian
on the upswing, his health was taking a opportunity to do specialist training at physicians is Dr. David Dodick, a
downturn. In September 2010 he saw a surgeon Washington University in St. Louis, professor of neurology with expertise
Dr. Stephen Cassivi
Once his well-loved family doctor recommended by Preventous who took Miss. under the direction of two in treating migraines, strokes and sports
retired in 2000, Balsom had trouble one look at a revised X-ray and said: Canadian trained surgeons who, he concussions, who is president of the
finding a replacement and passed on “Buddy, you’ve got to have this done.” says, made his transition very easy. American Headache Society and editor-in-
annual check-ups. It wasn’t until his There’d been so much deterioration since “During my time in St. Louis it chief of the medical journal Cephalalgia.
left knee started hurting that he tested the previous February (when the last became apparent to me that some Born in Brampton, Ont. and raised in
the water with some local physicians. diagnostic was taken) he was booked for a of the opportunities in the U.S. were Cape Breton, N.S., he did undergraduate
They told him to lose weight and take full knee replacement in March 2011. tremendous.” Especially in lung work and earned his medical degree at
glucosamine. But that didn’t work. Balsom After six weeks of recuperation and transplant work, a field where Canada Dalhousie University before accepting first
got heavier and he became less active; part-time work at home, he returned to the has only five programs nationwide. “That an internship and then a residency at Mayo
even his mental health began to suffer. office with no crutches, walker or cane. “I may be appropriate to the population but Clinic in Rochester. He returned to practice
“I couldn’t cut the lawn or walk through am a brand new person. I have no pain, there were just many more opportunities in Canada for two years before accepting a
Dr. David Dodick
Costco,” he explains. He finally had am on no drugs and have dropped 35 in the U.S.,” he recalls. staff position at Mayo Clinic.
to cancel his annual fishing trip to the pounds.” He says he knew that if he stayed in “I have the utmost respect for the clinical
Northwest Territories because he couldn’t Preventous personnel have also given Canada he might very well not get the acumen and the way doctors are trained
climb in or out of the boat. “You feel like Balsom personalized genetic advice opportunity to specialize in his area of in Canada and I wouldn’t have traded my
you’re living the life of a 75-year-old.” and set him up for age-appropriate expertise. And Mayo was offering him training at Dalhousie for anything,” he says.
A colleague at work recommended tests, such as a colonoscopy and an a chance to help build its new lung “It was a very difficult decision to uproot
Preventous Collaborative Health. In electrocardiogram (EKG). He is on a transplant program. my wife and my very young son. We loved
February 2008, he met up with Georgie low-dose prescription for blood pressure “It’s allowed me to do what I’m trained Canada and we had no family in the U.S.
Weeks, client care manager, and signed up but because of his new, healthy diet and to do,” he says. He describes Mayo “But Mayo is one of the best places in the
at the multi-purpose, downtown clinic. exercise regime, his cholesterol level has Clinic as a group of like-minded health world to practice medicine and it was a
The first step was a complete check-up. dropped without drugs. professionals focused on patient care. tremendous honour. It was something
It was determined he had high blood For this comprehensive, 24/7 service (the When he left Canada 11 years ago, he Dr. John Noseworthy I just had to take a crack at. That’s what
pressure, high cholesterol and was clinic filed a post-operative prescription for says, the health-care crunch was already made the decision at the end of the day.”
overweight. He was given a binder, like a Balsom after office hours in 15 minutes), being felt. Dodick says he’s aware some Canadians are
“report card,” to track his tests and medical Balsom pays $3,300 per year. “I spend “Every day at 2 p.m. a nurse manager would critical of doctors who receive first-rate training
interventions. He got an X-ray for that three times that much on an annual come in and say, ‘Sorry, but the rest of your cases with significant public funding in Canada and
knee and was diagnosed with semi-severe vacation,” he says. “Why wouldn’t I spend are postponed.’” It wasn’t because of emergencies then move the U.S. But he says Mayo was an
osteoarthritis. A nutritionist worked with a third of that on my health?” or other medical issues, it was insufficient funding. opportunity to make the most of his training.
Balsom on his diet (breakfast every day, Balsom is now in the process of “It was a form of rationing,” he says. “I went into medicine for many reasons,” he
moderate portion control, lots of fruits and scheduling a hiking trip to Gros Morne “At Mayo, that same nurse manager exists, says. “Foremost among them was to try to advance
vegetables) and weight loss program; a National Park in Newfoundland. “I but she comes in and says, ‘Things are behind medicine and make a contribution. I felt Mayo Clinic
kinesiologist created an exercise routine couldn’t have considered this a year ago,” schedule, do you need another (operating) room?’ offered me the best opportunity to fulfill that dream.
to safely strengthen muscles surrounding he explains. He is back cutting his lawn, Their attitude is, how can we help you get these “When I see people with multiple complex
the knee. He was also referred to a strolling painlessly through Costco and patients treated? It’s very refreshing. issues, within two to three days that person can
professional who administered Synvisc riding a bike. “I don’t get paid more money if I do more see specialists in every field necessary. And I’m
injections. “They explored everything,” “I am in better health now than I was at surgeries,” he says, anticipating the cynics. “Mayo learning from people who are the best in their
says Balsom. “But it became clear surgery 45,” he admits. “Preventous has changed doctors are on salary. We do more surgeries fields. There’s nothing like it and we hear that
was the only real option.” my life.” because that’s what we’re trained to do. It’s a long from patients every day.”
8 Options | Fall 2011
– CORPORATE PROFILE –
Our goal is to help
people be more
accountable for their
health and become
more educated in
knowing how to start
taking better care of
of who we are.
Dr. Rohan Bissoondath
Members of the Preventous team from left, Jayme Middleton, Dr. Rohan Bissoondath, Dr. Sarb Grewal, Georgie Weeks and Dr. Heather Taylor (seated front ).
Preventous combines cutting-edge technology
with tradition to help clients reach peak health
At Preventous Collaborative “You spend time with a physician, The Preventous family is 100 per cent Name:
Health, the traditional family doctor who kinesiologist, dietitian, and we assess you committed to the people and families that Preventous Collaborative Health
knew your children’s names, and was there from head to toe. Everything is done on site rely on them for medical care. “I don’t think Location: 1635 17th Ave. S.W.,
for you day and night, lives on. — blood work, your ECG, everything that’s you’ll find any other clinic that offers full Calgary, T2T 0E5
“I didn’t like how impersonal the medical needed. We take two weeks to put it all 24/7/365 care the way we do,” says Bissoon-
system can be,” says medical director Dr. together, and we identify your risk factors, dath. “If you need something in the middle
Rohan Bissoondath. Bissoondath started your concerns. We find out where you’re at of the night, we’re there for our patients.”
Preventous in 2007 because he saw a today — and why,” says Bissoondath. Knowing your health risks and how
need for a one-stop shop offering strong, The team then puts together a plan to avoid problems in the future is key to
evidence-based family health care in a car- tailored for each person. Progress is staying healthy hence the “prevent” part Services: Providers of insured and un-
ing, compassionate manner. monitored and measured and patients can of the company name. Bissoondath tells of insured medical services to individuals,
Bissoondath and the rest of the Preventous quickly start to see results. seeing a 50-year-old man who had a heart families and corporate clients.
family are strong believers in the power of You won’t find yourself experiencing attack, and in the next examining room sat Preventous assesses and maintains total
preventive medicine to help men, women “assembly line” health care at Preventous. a 22-year-old “who was not taking care of health and provides collaborative,
and children achieve peak health so they “We give our patients as much time as they himself — smoking, etc. — and I thought this preventive health care, with 24/7 access
can celebrate their lives long into the future. need,” says Bissoondath. “We want people is my personal time machine. I just saw his to family physicians, plus on-site access
“People in Calgary work very hard to create to start taking ownership of their health, future in the room next door. to nurses, a registered dietitian, a
lives they can be proud of,” says Bissoondath. and we make it easy by listening, advising, “If we can help this kid avoid that next kinesiologist and a psychologist.
“We’re here to help them figure out what they and having everything under one roof.” room in the next 20 to 30 years, that will
need to do so that they can fully experience Everything includes a travel clinic, be an accomplishment. Nothing matters if
their lives and be as healthy as possible.” psychological counselling and personal you’re not healthy.”
Preventous works with families, children, coaching services, as well as access to the To arrange a Total Health Assessment,
young adults, seniors, athletes, and everyone in Centre for Facial Rejuvenation, a Preven- call 403-229-0129, drop by the clinic at 1635
between. They all start out by going through tous-owned cosmetic medicine clinic that 17 Ave. S.W. (only two minutes from down-
the Preventous Total Health Assessment. helps people look as good as they feel. town), or visit preventous.com.
Options | Fall 2011 9
‘I was relieved that
I was going to be
By COLLEEN BIONDI for the 15th. “I was relieved that
I was going to be diagnosed,”
raham Good, 28, he says.
is in good physical The surgeon confirmed
condition. During the a “massively herniated”
day he trains horses and raises disc (this is where a spongy
cattle on the family ranch 32 disc squirts out between
kilometres south of Irvine, Alta. the vertebrae and presses
So when he started having back onto nerve roots). He was
pain last fall, he was worried. very concerned that Good’s
It started with muscle leg, foot and toes were
spasms. Good went to a walk- compromised. The solution
in clinic and then to his family was clear — a discectomy,
doctor. Nothing came up on which cuts out the herniated
an X-ray, so physiotherapy portion of the disc.
was recommended. “But the Good had the day-surgery
pain got worse,” says Good. procedure without incident
He went to a chiropractor, on June 20. “I felt really good
but that failed to help. right after the operation,”
“Then I started losing the says Good. “My leg pain
Last fall, when his back pain became so unbearable, Irvine-area rancher Graham Good elected to visit Benefis Health System in Great Falls, Mont. use of my right leg,” Good was completely gone.” He
where he received rapid treatment, including surgery, for a massively herniated disc.
explains. His family doctor returned the next day for
— Courtesy, Graham Good
referred him to an orthopedic a post-operation consult.
specialist in Medicine Hat. The surgeon admitted the
The appointment was for late condition was even worse
Win the battle.
September 2011. than expected; scarring had
But the pain became begun to take place on the
crushing and painkillers nerves. Any further delay in
(muscle relaxants and treatment could have resulted
Tylenol 3s) weren’t working. in permanent damage.
Schedule your confidential appointment to So the family doctor gave
him stronger pills and tried
Now back on the ranch,
Good is in recovery mode.
discuss options that are right for you. to bump up the specialist
appointment without success.
He cannot yet put on his
own socks and cannot twist
An appointment was made or bend. “I feel like the Tin
SPECIALIZING IN: to have a private magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI)
Man. You definitely need
someone to take care of you,”
• Gastric-Bypass scan conducted at Calgary’s he admits. Good credits his
• Lap Banding Mayfair Diagnostics.
But the situation got so bad
family — including his sister
who flew in from Ireland
• Gastric Sleeve that Good couldn’t sleep and — in this regard. Next up is
All inclusive pricing as low as $14,500 he could no longer work. “I physiotherapy treatment to
please contact our office to see if you qualify. couldn’t stand the pain,” he strengthen his leg and core
states. exercises to strengthen his
He recalled seeing a back. Good returns to work
newspaper advertisement a this month.
David A. Rohrer, M.D., F.A.C.S. few months previous about Good is grateful to Benefis
General, Bariatric and Laparoscopic Surgery an orthopedic clinic in Great staff for looking after him. He
400 13th Ave. S., Suite 101, Great Falls, Montana Falls. He “Googled” that can’t wait to start curling again
(406) 771-8411 • 1-877-907-BAND (2263) Toll Free & Canada and up came Benefis Health this winter, to getting back to
visit us at www.rohrermd.com System and its Spine Institute. a normal life. “If you are not
Member of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery & ASMBS He called the clinic on June satisfied or cannot find results
Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence 9 and booked a consultation (for a medical issue) at home,
(blood work, MRI and time there are choices,” says Good.
with the orthopedic surgeon) “One would be Benefis.”
10 Options | Fall 2011
that is centered
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Options | Fall 2011 11
Swift treatment leads
family to private system
By JACQUELINE LOUIE Because her family sent her to a
private facility for surgery so soon after
ineteen-year-old Greta Joy the injury, Joy expects she will be able
was playing soccer in a to play soccer again competitively “after
women’s summer league in six months or so” of rehabilitation.
Vancouver this past June, when she “It’s all about timing,” says Joy’s
was slide tackled from behind and mother, Judi Hess. “We tried as hard
her right anterior cruciate ligament as we could to get her an appointment
(ACL) snapped. (in the public health-care system). The
In mid-July, she had surgery to issue the family was facing, however,
repair her knee at Cambie Surgery was that Joy was due to return to
Centre, a multi-specialty private university in mid-August, and so she
facility in its 15th year of operation in only had a month-and-a-half to get the
Vancouver. surgery done before she had to go When Greta Joy was injured playing soccer this summer, waiting wasn’t an option for the busy University of Western Ontario
student. Her family opted to send her to a private facility for surgery.
“It was really helpful, because I back to Ontario.
— Corey Stanford photo
needed to get the surgery before I “It’s really the uncertainly that
went back to school. Waiting to do drives you to the private system,” says — the speed, picking the expert you
professional, turn to a private facility irreparable harm as a result.
it wouldn’t have been an option — I Hess. “If we knew when we could want, and the certainty of knowing.
such as Cambie Surgery Centre In the case of professional
wouldn’t have been able to recover get a surgery date, we could have It needed to be done so quickly to fit
for a number of reasons, including athletes, there are also economic
in time to go back to school,” says gone into the public system. She into her schedule and her athletics.
the wait list issue in Canada and the reasons. And “in the case of an
Joy, a second-year science student, thinks the public system does a good Everything was done very well, with
expedited treatment that private amateur high school athlete, it
who hopes to go into medicine, and job — “but with the private system very good follow-up care. I’m really
facilities offer. “And at the elite could be a life changing in terms
plays on the Western Mustangs, a you get in right away and they give grateful that it’s available as an option
international level they come to our of scholarships.” If an elite 16- or
varsity athlete women’s soccer team you a date. That’s the reason why and that it’s in Canada.” clinic because of our expertise,” says 17- year old athlete, hoping to
at the University of Western Ontario. we looked into the private system Athletes, both amateur and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Day, have their education paid for at
the centre’s medical a top U.S. college by an athletic
director. Cambie Surgery scholarship, were to become
Centre has treated injured and was put on a one-year
some of the world’s wait list to see a doctor and a one-
top soccer players and year wait list to get the surgery, then
hockey players; as well their whole life would be changed,
as professional golfers, Day says.
basketball players and “The bottom line, is that waiting
hockey players. lists in Canada exist for both
Both amateur and consultations, MRIs and surgical
Advanced Medical Imaging Centre professional athletes go treatment,” Day says. “And waiting
Our Subspecialized Radiologists will help you solve to private facilities for lists are not compatible with
your most challenging diagnostic problems. two main reasons, Day athletes, because they can’t afford to
notes. First, an injured be out of their sport either medically
MRI Imaging for all types of exams/body parts
athlete needs to get or financially, whether they are
• Abdomen / Pelvis • Spine treated quickly, and amateur or professional.”
• Arthrography • Vascular that’s one of the benefits Athletes and members of the
• Breast • Musculoskeletal that private facilities general population alike can benefit
• Brain • Cartilage Mapping offer. Athletes who are from the team approach taken by
used to being active private facilities such as Preventous
• Interpretation by specialists with dedicated training can suffer significant Collaborative Health in Calgary.
focused on your clinical concern deterioration if they In its proactive approach to health,
• Comfortable patient exams must wait a year or two Preventous seeks to prevent injuries
• Detailed information for a confident diagnosis for treatment; those who and to condition people, so they’re
• Comprehensive reports delay treatment could more able to handle the stresses
develop irreversible of everyday life,” says medical
damage. Young people director, Dr. Rohan Bissoondath.
in particular will often “The better shape your core is in,
For more information call try to play through an and the better your balance and
www.advancedmri.ca 403•541•1200 injury while they are
waiting, and could suffer
flexibility, the better you’ll be able to
deal with things that come up.”
12 Options | Fall 2011
‘She’s a special little lady
in my life’
By COLLEEN BIONDI Mayo. The first was called Blalock surgery,
which took place at the age of seven. This
ixty-nine years ago Calgarian Carol involved removing the pulse vein in Allan’s left
Allan was born with a rare and complex arm and connecting it to her heart. But Allan’s
cardiac condition called Tetralogy of condition was too severe and the technology
Fallot. Her pulmonary artery was almost was not sophisticated enough to work.
closed and she had a quarter-sized hole in her The on-site cardiologist sent Allan home and
heart, causing damaged circulation. She was said the only thing that might help was something
what was referred to as a “blue baby,” due that was still in the research stages — bypass
to the colour of her extremities. Her Regina surgery. Allan was 15 before the procedure was
cardiologist (the family was living in Gull at a point of readiness for the public. The surgery
Lake at the time) recommended a one-year opened up the pulmonary artery wide enough to Born with a rare cardiac condition, Calgarian Carol Allan received two cardiac surgeries at the Mayo Clinic
monitoring period followed by surgery. Even function. “After the surgery, I became pink,” says in Rochester, Minn. when she was seven and 15. Now, several decades later, she is corresponding with a
with intervention, Allan was not expected to Allan. “I’d never been pink.” young girl who has had three cardiac surgeries at the Mayo. The pair have become good friends.
see her 16th birthday. — Wil Andruschak photo
Today, Allan is married, retired from an
Since Allan’s condition was so serious, she administration career and is an avid volunteer unexpected way. A contact there advised Allan a thank you e-mail and asked Allan to be her
was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. with Canadian Hadassah WIZO and with the that a young local girl had taken her third cardiac pen-pal. So began a marvelous friendship with
at the age of three. The experts said her heart Springboard Centre for adults with moderate surgery at the facility the previous summer. “I correspondence, calls and gift exchanges (Alli
muscle was too tiny to operate and she should to severe physical disabilities. She exercises, wanted to do something,” says Allan. “So many recently sent Allan a birthday gift — a locket
return a few years later. In the meantime, she does weight training and watches her diet (little people were kind to me when I had my surgeries.” with “Two Friends” etched on it).
was expected to be quiet and not exert herself. coffee, tea, mint or chocolate). She takes Altace So Allan sent Alli Szewczynski, who was nine Today, Alli is doing well; she is perky, off
Even so, she had periods where she couldn’t for high blood pressure as a precaution. at the time, the book The Little Engine That her medication and plans to try out for the
breathe well and her heart would race. She The last time she was at the Mayo was in 1964, Could. When Allan was a child, this book had part of a mouse in a neighbourhood theatre
missed a great deal of school. for a post-operation check-up. But last fall, she given her hope that she — like the little engine production, explains Allan. “She is a special
What followed were two surgeries at the reconnected with the facility in an amazing and — was strong enough to make it. Alli sent Allan little lady in my life.”
I was sick of being sick and the worst part was I
didn’t know what was wrong. So I went to Mayo
Clinic. I was seen by eight different specialists in
eight days and I left with a deﬁnitive diagnosis.
My answer was Mayo Clinic.
TA M I KO LY L E
West Kelowna, British Columbia
L ike Tamiko, you have full access to Mayo Clinic’s world-class health care. As a not-for-profit
organization, we have been putting the needs of our patients first for more than 100 years.
Our expert teams of specialists and premier medical facilities are available to you for diagnosis
or treatment of a serious condition, a comprehensive wellness exam, or even a second opinion.
In most cases, a physician referral is not needed. To make an appointment please visit
mayoclinic.org/canada or call 1.888.441.2133.
PHOENIX / SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
Options | Fall 2011 13
‘I am happy because
I have no cancer’
By COLLEEN BIONDI at 39 and his Gleason Score (relates to rate of
tumour growth) was seven or aggressive.
Van Alstyne opted for surgery but he didn’t
ames Van Alstyne is no shrinking violet. want to wait. “I was worried it would spread by
The 58-year-old trains quarter horses then.” A friend told him about Timely Medical
on his farm, just outside of Edson, and Alternatives and in early April 2011 he phoned
works in highway construction for Ledcor. He the company in Vancouver.
raised four children and has 10 grandchildren. Timely Medical (which refers patients to
But last fall, when routine blood work prior diagnostic and surgical alternatives outside the
to gall bladder and hernia surgery found an public system) recommended the Kalispell
elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of Regional Surgical Center in Montana. Van When diagnosed with prostate cancer, James Van Alstyne of Edson, Alta. didn’t want to wait for treatment.
26 (borderline is four to 10), Van Alstyne — also Alstyne got in touch and sent his medical Instead, he opted for surgery at a private facility in Kalispell, Mont.
a diabetic — was shocked and concerned. A records down for review. They offered to — Courtesy, James Van Alstyne
biopsy confirmed prostate cancer. conduct traditional surgery the following week.
He met with a urologist in Edmonton who “It took my breath away. I had to think about the surgeons also removed the gall bladder tab to $32,000. Van Alstyne cashed in a few
discussed radiotherapy as well as cryogenic that for a second.” In further discussion Van and not only repaired the hernia, but located RRSPs to pay the bill and is applying to
(ablation of tissue that has been frozen), da Alstyne opted for the da Vinci procedure; and repaired a second hernia they found while Alberta Health Services (AHS) for a rebate.
Vinci (robotic) and traditional or “open” it was less invasive and the patient’s healing operating. Recovery was smooth and the pain His understanding is AHS may pay the
surgeries. It would take six months — on time was quicker (it was also $8,000 US more was manageable (Van Alstyne had access to Canadian cost of a similar surgery.
average — to schedule a surgery. He was expensive than traditional surgery). That morphine but took little of it). He was off work Regardless of any financial rebate, Van
advised to go home and think about it. “I have surgery was scheduled for May 23. for seven weeks and, after getting a clean bill of Alstyne is relieved, relaxed and ready to get
a good immune system so decided to do the Once in Kalispell, pre-operation testing health from his general practitioner in Edson, his life back. “I am happy because I have no
herbs and vitamins thing and maybe my body determined that the prostate was, in fact, too returned to the crew on July 11. cancer,” he says. “If you are on a long wait-list
would take care of the cancer,” explains Van big for da Vinci to work; traditional surgery Cost for the surgeries was $27,500. Hotel, and you want peace of mind, you can find it in
Alstyne. But after three months, his PSA was was required. Six lymph nodes were removed, flights, car rental and food brought the total Kalispell.”
14 Options | Fall 2011
MyCare to expand insurance coverage to Mayo Clinic
By BRIAN BURTON or desired. Basic coverage is up to $500,000 per contacted Viccars to discuss going to Mayo but
person or $1 million per family for diagnosis decided to give the Saskatchewan system more
s early as this fall, Canadian companies and treatment, with non-smokers’ premiums of time. Finally, after eight months, he decided to go
may be able to buy group insurance $33.83 per month for a single person under 40 to Mayo’s Rochester facility but was deemed too In some serious cases,
covering all employees for diagnosis and $68.83 per month for a family. Non-smokers ill to fly. Instead, he travelled by car and train. He
and treatment at the Mayo Clinic. 40-49 see premiums of $51.55 for a single person checked into a hotel in Rochester, with diagnostic patients die as a result of
Assured Diagnosis of Calgary has offered
Mayo-linked MyCare insurance packages to
and $102.67 per family. (Single smoker under
40 — $57.16 per month.) For an additional cost,
appointments for the next day, but died in his
hotel room that night.
waiting lists for public
Canadian individuals and families since April MyCare Advantage extends coverage to $1 Some 23 months later, the MyCare program health care.
and is now planning to extend the service to million per person and $2 million per family. was launched with the full support of Mayo
entire companies, not just executive groups. Both plans specifically exclude previously Clinic. Bryant says MyCare has received a
“We want to make access to Mayo Clinic existing conditions. legal opinion that their insurance package does patient identification system, patient number
available to the broadest percentage of “Canada has excellent physicians,” says not contravene the Canada Health Act and is one was a Canadian.
Canadians possible,” says Liz Bryant, chief Bryant, herself a Canadian. But timely access consistent with a 2005 Supreme Court of Canada In a YouTube video, Dr. David Hayes, a
operating officer of MyCare. to diagnosis and treatment has become ruling that said “… in some serious cases, patients Mayo cardiologist and director of international
In the 12 weeks (as of Aug. 1) since increasingly difficult in Canada’s publicly die as a result of waiting lists for public health services, says Mayo’s objective in working with
announcing their MyCare insurance program funded health-care system (see Wait Times, care” and that “access to a waiting list is not access MyCare is to “extend its reach to Canadian
they’ve had extensive, Canada-wide media page 4). And she says second opinions are to health care.” The ruling further explicitly said patients” by making diagnostic services and
coverage, strong traffic on their website (mycare. always valuable. that evidence indicates private insurance for treatment affordable to more people. Hays
ca) and ‘steady’ sales of policies, Bryant says. But Bryant says Jim Viccars, CEO of Assured services covered by the Canada Health Act does says Mayo Clinic’s objective is to work with
she declines to give sales figures. Diagnosis and a long-time admirer of Mayo not undermine the public system. Canadian physicians to “become an extension
“Every indication is that this is something Clinic, launched the effort to create MyCare after Bryant says work is currently under way of your care.”
Canadians value,” she says. the death of a close family friend in May 2009. with insurers to construct a group package Bryant said many of the calls to her office are
What MyCare offers is coverage for the cost The friend, whom she refers to only as Terry, similar to MyCare that will be affordable for from Canadian doctors interested in passing
of remote consultation and second opinions, as had become increasingly ill, losing 60 pounds in employee groups. on MyCare information to patients, as well as
well as for treatment at any one of three Mayo five months as he waited through various rounds She says that before MyCare, some 25 per from companies inquiring about group plans.
Clinics (in Rochester, Minn., Phoenix, Ariz. and of diagnostics in the Saskatchewan health-care cent of Mayo patients came from Canada and So far, she reports, no one has made a claim for
Jacksonville, Fla.) should it become necessary system. After five months without a diagnosis he notes that when Mayo created a numbered service under MyCare coverage.
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Options | Fall 2011 15
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