Windsor patients could suffer from temporary worker changes
A physician recruiter is concerned that changes to the federal government's temporary foreign worker program could lead to health care problems in Windsor.
Joan Mavrinac has been recruiting doctors in Windsor-Essex for 20 years. She said there are 17 doctors crossing from the United States into Windsor every day. They work as family physicians and emergency room doctors.
"I don't have a high confidence level that we'll be able to sustain that," Mavrinac said.
Dr. Peter Farago is one of those American doctors working in Windsor. The family practitioner has approximately 2000 patients.
"Hopefully for the sake of my patients and the care of folks here in Windsor there won't be a disruption in the practice of medicine," he said.
Mavrinac said the changes mean more red tape for everyone involved: her as a recruiter, institutions looking to hire the American doctors, and the doctors themselves.
"Every time those changes happen the process gets further and further away from something that makes sense for physicians," she said.
The changes have led Mavrinac to set new rules for how she recruits doctors from across the border. She will now work only with American physicians who are willing to relocate to Windsor\Essex.
Farago is worried that a good situation might go wrong.
"If the restrictions and regulations hamstring docs to the point where it's no longer making it worth ... it's really going to be a shame. Because I think in the last three to five year Windsor's done a good job of recruiting a lot of the US physicians to come here and give you guys some support . You know, much needed support in an underserviced community," he said.
Mavinac pointed out that the American doctors are filling key roles in Windsor.
"Nine of them are family physicians. Fifteen thousand people would lose their family doctor. Five of them are emergency room physicians. That would take an entire shift out of the emergency room 24/7 every week," she said.