A Corner Brook nurse practitioner says she's not opening the door to private health care by operating a clinic that charges fees.

Ellisa Sinnicks-House, who runs the Livewell clinic, said patients come to see her rather than a doctor or the emergency department for a variety of reasons.

"Some are coming to me because they want to save time, most are coming because they don't have a family doctor or healthcare provider," she told the St. John's Morning Show.

Sinnicks-House said she has heard nothing, but positive responses from everyone she has served.

"People like the service we provide and they're quite happy to have that alternative to the long wait," she said.

"Emergency doesn't always work, they end up waiting a long time because they're triaged based on severity."

Nurse practitioners like Sinnicks-House charge a fee for those who come to see them because MCP doesn't cover their visits.


Nurse practitioners like Sinnicks-House perform a variety of health services including referrals, care for accute chronic diseases, ordering and interpreting tests and diagnoses. (Eliseo Fernandez/Reuters)

She said they can provide many primary healthcare services to patients such as referrals, care for acute diseases and testing and diagnoses.

Insists she is not opening the door to privatization

A typical visit to see Sinnicks-House is between $20 and $30 per visit.

She thinks that's a reasonable rate for the service she provides.

"I could charge a lot more than I do, it's not my intent to get rich," she said. "My intent is to fill gaps that are there and to help take some strain off the healthcare system, and help people who don't have access in other places."

"We do charge for medicals, for motor vehicle medicals and those sort of things. Those aren't covered by MCP anyways."

She doesn't buy the argument that expecting people to pay for health services opens up the flood gates to privatization.

"It is quite legal, we've had privately funded healthcare for many decades now," she said.

"Lots of nurses have private clinics for foot care, blood collection  — things like that."