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Former President of the Canadian Medical Association Thinks British Columbia Should Start Thinking About Medical Tourism

Posted Apr 18 2010 4:06pm

This is a bit of a switch as we always read in the news about patients that travel here to the US due to long waits and scheduling times.  In some instances the image government of Canada actually pays for procedures done here in the US when time may not permit for the patient to wait and other circumstances.  I am guessing they would be talking about private healthcare facilities maybe?  I’m not sure on this one but it would appear major laws and regulations on both side of the coin would need to take place for this to occur.  Again, I am a bit puzzled here as we always hear about the Canadian system being overtaxed and sometimes the inability to get to all patients fast enough.  BD  

British Columbia's Health Minister Kevin Falcon recently floated the idea of medical tourism as a strategy to generate income for our financially stretched health budget.

Many in the media, including several Vancouver Sun journalists, expressed divergent views on the proposal. So let me highlight their opinions with a few facts.

Our biggest trading partner is the United States. Their health care spending is between $2 trillion and $3 trillion. If we could access even a small fraction of that revenue and attract patients from the U.S. and elsewhere (such as the Pacific Rim), medical tourism could become our largest industry. B.C. should be the first to embrace the concept of international centers of excellence in Canada. A great by-product will be the elimination of rationed access and waiting lists for our own patients.

Dr. Brian Day is former president of the Canadian Medical Association and founder of the Cambie Surgery Centre.

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