Fall 2011

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                                                                                                      YOUR GUIDE TO PRIVATE MEDICINE
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                                                                                              E A           TIV       AL TO
                                                                                                      PROAC                 URISM

                                                                                                                                                                          A special advertising publication
                                                                                          – CORPORATE PROFILE –

             We’d like to dispel the
              misconception about
          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:
    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:
    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.
                                                          Fraser Institute
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.
                                                          Fraser Institute
                                                                               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 –

       Copeman Healthcare
               has introduced
       a highly personalized
          and service-focused
       approach to personal,
        family and corporate
               health care that
           delivers excellence
            in prevention and
         health management.

                                                           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:
   When the organization added a state-         health. Copeman’s brain health program             and the most current science and technol-        Web:
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
                                                                                                                           public system
                                                                                                                      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
            themselves. They’re
                the cornerstones
                  of who we are.
                           Preventous founder,
                        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-
                                                                                                                                                                Contact info:
system can be,” says medical director Dr.           together, and we identify your risk factors,        dath. “If you need something in the middle
                                                                                                                                                                Phone: 403-229-0129
Rohan Bissoondath. Bissoondath started              your concerns. We find out where you’re at          of the night, we’re there for our patients.”
                                                                                                                                                                Fax: 403-398-0193
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

                                                                                                                                                                                      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                                                                                       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
                                            Orthopedic care
                                            that is centered
The Orthopedic Center of
Montana — a partnership
between the Great Falls
                                                      on you.
Orthopedic Associates and
Benefis Health System — is
a leader in providing the most
advanced programs, technology
and innovative orthopedic care for
patients throughout Montana.

Within this state-of-the-art facility,
the physicians, therapists and
staff provide complete orthopedic
care. Whether you need injury care,
surgery, physical therapy, imaging,
joint replacements, sports medicine
or spine care, you will find it all in one
location at The Orthopedic Center of

For unparalleled orthopedic care that
is tailored to your specific needs, call
The Orthopedic Center of Montana
today at 800.648.6646. Ask about our
special Canadian Pricing.

The Orthopedic Center of Montana
800.648.6646 or 406.731.8900
1401 25th Street South
Great Falls, Montana

                                                            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
                                                           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
                                                                   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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