Goldman on CBC Calgary's The Home Stretch

I'm being interviewed today by host Jeff Collins of Homestretch, CBC Calgary's afternoon radio show. Some Calgarians are upset that a new clinic called The Copeman Healthcare Centre, which opened on Monday, has recruited two Calgary doctors to work there.

The clinic charges $3900 to new patients for the first year of service, and $2900 every year thereafter. The services provided include preventive medicine and a "specialized health plan designed by a team of doctors, nurses, registered dieticians and kineseiologists."

So far, the clinic has offices in Calgary and in Vancouver. When the Vancouver clinic opened, it was greeted by protests that the fees charged to patients violated the Canada Health Act. However, the clinic was cleared after it was determined that none of the services provided at the clinic are insured services.

The issue of poaching doctors from the public system to a private clinic that offers uninsured services is more of an issue of personal ethics than the law. Since the dawn of Medicare, MDs have always had the right to charge what they wish for uninsured services. The only thing the clinic is doing is turning the quest for uninsured services into a full time job, and making it lucrative enough for doctors to want it. Any family doc who does cosmetic procedures on the side and reducing his or her family practice accordingly is doing exactly the same thing.

According to Chris Nedelmann, the centre's general manager, the two doctors who joined The Copeman Healthcare Centre in Calgary this week had either closed their practices or were close to doing so. No let loss to the system there. Before anybody gets too excited about losing MDs in the public system, let's wait and see how much business the clinic actually gets.

For more information, log onto the Homestretch web site: What has Calgarians knickers in knots

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