I live in a border region and local health care folk frequently talk about Canadian medical tourism. A week or so ago Buffalo Business First published this article about the increasing trend for our northern neighbors to cross the border for elective surgeries, emergency room visits, and diagnostic procedures in order to avert the long wait times that are commonly associated with the Canadian care system.
The article discusses the issue from the grim perspective of how this is all a revenue opportunity for Western NY hospitals. That may be true but it is probably the most immoral spin that you could possibly put on this ethical morass.
Cue article number two - a story that gives us a polarizing different perspective on the lack of access to care in a socialized system. Laura Hillier was an 18 year old young girl who died from leukemia while on a waiting list for a bed even though a bone marrow donor was available. With stories like this, there is no wonder why people who have the financial means will cross the border for health care.
Today we have article number three - a story that celebrates increased access to occupational therapy services by providing care directly in the schools. Ontario developed a consultative model that focuses on teacher collaboration; however, access to related services in schools across different provinces is uneven. Given the other recent news about access to care in Canada it is no surprise that people would look for something to celebrate.
Here is the article celebrating improved access to school based services.
Access to health care in Canada is a hot topic.
Occupational therapy and other health care leaders who are in decision making positions should be regularly scanning the environment for this kind of data that deeply informs about the consequences and impacts of some health care delivery models. This also deeply informs about the problems of labor force maldistribution and how that impacts the quality and access to healthcare in different regions.
We have a lot to study. Fortunately, we all have access to the data that is needed so that we can make informed decisions.