COVID-19 continues to prove the failings of Canada’s healthcare system

Prime Minister Trudeau said recently in a press briefing that “equal access is ‘foundational’ to Canada’s health-care system”. But with upheaval in Ontario’s testing system, assessment centre volumes dropping due to lack of appointment availability, other provinces and cross-border private facilities bailing Ontario out of their backlog and positivity rates rising, Health Canada remains steadfast that private health clinics cannot and should not have equal access to COVID-19 tests for patients.

Alon Birshtein, CEO of Care& Family Health, strongly disagrees with Health Canada restricting access to COVID-19 testing to only a portion of the private health sector and believes that there is a significant role for all of Canada’s private sector providers to play in a national health crisis.  

“The Ontario Government and Health Canada need to develop a reasonable framework to integrate the local private health sector into harmonizing with the larger provincial testing strategy, relieving the heavily overloaded health system”  says Birshtein. “With a backlog of 90,000 COVID-19 tests sent to a private Southern California lab* for processing, there are still close to 55,000 Ontarians awaiting their diagnosis.  It’s outrageous that Ontario is outsourcing analysis of COVID-19 tests to private labs in the US,  but is restricting testing access to private clinics here, knowing that testing is a critical part of the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”  

He went on to say  “Simply put, the public healthcare system is overwhelmed and overloaded. Crown corporations like Ontario Power Generation are bypassing the system and running their own, private testing for workers because they are deemed essential. What is being masked in the federal healthcare debate is that private clinics, like ours, do not receive OHIP reimbursement for our services. Restricting access AND denying a reasonable private sector framework is not only irresponsible during a national health crisis but these catastrophic political tactics are guaranteed to propel our rising numbers even faster”

Under these guidelines, Birshtein’s clinic is committed to purchasing COVID-19 test kits privately. “If our local, private clinic was given the same opportunity as private mega providers, such as Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall, our Nurse Practitioners would be able to offer more patients safe and convenient testing. By using our innovative system, our patients are able to book same and next-day appointments, arrive with little to no wait time and experience very low-contact testing in our clinic”

Birshtein concludes “Health Canada is enabling a two-tier healthcare system exclusively based on megacorp providers while denying small community-based clinics.  If they continue to uphold siloed and restricted care, COVID-19 will continue to prove the abject failings of our healthcare system.”

Reference: *Private Southern California Lab; Quest Diagnostics

Alon Birshtein is the CEO and Co-Founder of Care&; a modern private practice, powered by Nurse Practitioners.  Registration for the Care& Clinic takes just a few minutes and can be done through the Care& iOS and Android App, as well as through the Care& online portal.  A one time visit is $50 and an annual unlimited membership to the Care& private family practice is $200.

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