How much would you pay to bypass ER wait times?
That doctors were able to treat patients in an overcrowded hospital’s Tim Hortons last week – that was clever.
But that a makeshift ER had to be set up alongside Iced Caps and Boston Creams in the first place – that, maybe that’s not worth celebrating.
Certainly, Canada’s health care system, for all its international praise and acclaim when compared against the pre-ObamaCare U.S., has its flaws. Even its biggest supporters would concede this.
Yet this latest overcrowded hospital gaffe may also allow us to gauge the public temperature for wait times with an interesting hypothetical: if you could, how much would you pay to bypass a stint in an emergency waiting room?
By now, you all know the story that’s behind this post. Early in March, the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., became so overrun with patients it was forced to use the building’s Tim Hortons as a temporary ER.
In full disclosure, the restaurant was closed at the time and screens were put up to shield patients from prying eyes. But there they were, nonetheless, receiving heart monitoring and bloodwork just steps from where doughnuts and sandwiches are sold.
Of course, it doesn’t actually take a doctor to tell you this is poor health care – the hospital, almost sheepishly, has admitted as much – though it resurfaces all the criticisms that have long been lobbed at Canada’s universal system.
According to a recent CBC poll, about 24 per cent of Canadians have waited 4-7 hours in an emergency room. More worrisome, though, was this: a daunting 57 per cent said they’d once waited eight hours or more to see a physician.
While we may never get the sought-after two-tier health care system in Canada, perhaps one day we’ll be able to pay for the incentive to bypass an ER lineup; kind of like a NEXUS for broken arms and mono.
So, let's humour the issue. If you could, how much would you pay to bypass an emergency room wait time?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Dr. John Steed | Mar 7, 2022 7:02:13 PM
I get service immediately.
Posted by: Jon W | Mar 8, 2022 6:07:35 AM
Because of artificial limits on the numbers of doctors in Canada we already have two tier limited access healthcare. If you've got cash it's a simple matter to go to the states like our politicians if not, sucks to be you !
Posted by: Snarky1 | Mar 8, 2022 10:16:17 AM
Preferential treatment Dr. Steed? F***ing prick!
Posted by: Canadianchic | Mar 8, 2022 11:13:52 AM
Instead of paying for wait times.... the better use of our high taxes is to instill a better health care system by increasing doctors (even if incentives are needed), increased walk in facilities and clinics, and perhaps hospitals...thereby increasing medical staff.
Furthermore. This country needs to focus on the ROOT CAUSE ...not paying for better ER...that's ridicolous!!!! Improve our horrible healthcare!
No comment on how much I'd spend...furthermore, if you get hit by a car...can you even speak or pay????. Our health care is horrible, worst I have ever seen in my many places abroad. I lived in the States for many years and we have NO right to say we have anything but one of the worst systems in the WORLD.
Posted by: Vinod Chandel | Mar 8, 2022 11:19:12 AM
I was wondering if my suggestion would be of any help to reduce the emergency line up in the hospital.
1) Some walk in clinic should be open 24 hours for minor emergencies. The walk in clinics should have EKG, X-ray and blood test faciiilties right there so the doctor on duty can decide if patient need to go to hospital.
Nobody wants to wait for 5 or 6 hours when they are suffering but since at night there is no other facilities are open and only choice is to go to hospitals emergency facility.
2) If there is a real bad emergency and doctor calls for an ambulence to shift the patient to hospital than there should not be any charges for the ambulence service.
This can cut down the emergency line up to some extend.
Posted by: pat | Mar 8, 2022 11:35:34 AM
If I could i would go to the States for healthcare or even South America, like Argentina, Chile, Peru, they might be countries more poor than Canada but they had great affordable doctors and clinics were you will wait in an emergency room half an hour tops if its not an actual emergency to see a doctor and right away if necessary; will be admitted or treated and out of there in 2 hours tops. They have enough doctors, enough rooms and new and great technology like Cat-Scans and MRI machines etc. Also great dentists! if you care to look for one, I met one that has lots of people from the States that travel to be treated by him on regular basis.
So the question is? what if you have an accident or are too ill to travel to seek for healthcare elsewhere?
that is why we should demand to have hospitals remodel with bigger ER rooms and the goverment should make sure to give doctor's diplomas to real doctors and dentists, people with vocation not people that just want to make good money as doctors and not only are not able to cure patients properly but in occasions they even cause injuries while treatment is going on.
If for these we have to pay, I think job insurances should start giving options so people that are working hard and paying taxes will benefit from this and not others who sit at their homes waiting for the goverment to support them. Then when they go to hospitals sometimes they are luckier than you and treated better than an honest hard working person.
Also this will encourage people on welfare to stand up and start working!
Posted by: JC | Mar 8, 2022 12:45:25 PM
When I got a call from my doctor telling me to take my wife STRAIGHT to EMERG because her liver counts were dangerously high, and then it took 8 hrs before a doctor even looked at her ... I was livid ... especially when there seemed to be alot of people around not doing anything terrribly urgent.
Given the choice I would have paid whatever it costs ... BUT I already pay taxes - and plenty high enough ....I dont understand why I can get a diagnostic Xray at my local clinic in 10 minutes while a broken arm Xray takes HOURS at most Hospital ER's.
Posted by: terry | Mar 8, 2022 1:34:42 PM
Thats crazy and selfesh!! im a low wage earner..but ya i work hard, if a guy can pay to bump me i would be pissed off. remember that what ever you earn someone does make more. I sat in the waiting room for 3 hours..a lady came in with a crying baby..she was back of the line..my turn came and prompley gave my turn to the baby..back of the line i went, but i felt good about my choice..what a selfesh world we live in..most people in that er should be at home with a box of kleenex anyway.
Posted by: JCFAN | Mar 8, 2022 1:53:12 PM
JC WELL PUT!
Posted by: Trixie: | Mar 8, 2022 3:00:23 PM
If it was between life and death, I would pay whatever I had to. It's that simple.
Posted by: DON | Mar 8, 2022 3:03:49 PM
how about a four hour wait at the hospital to refill a prescription you have to take for your lifetime because you can't find a doctor taking new patients?
Posted by: Western Guy | Mar 8, 2022 3:05:41 PM
This is available already for some treatments.
About 3 years ago in a sporting injury I damaged my knee. I was up for ACL surgery but first had to get a MRI to confirm the diagnosis. I was told the waiting line was 6-9 months. So I phoned a private clinic with an MRI machine and asked to get the soonest appointment available. The answer, well we are pretty busy today, how does tomorrow morning sound? $700 later and I got to have my surgery 9 months earlier than otherwise allowing me to enjoy that time I otherwise would have been limping around.
To Terry. There is nothing greedy about this. I pay taxes to support the public system. I have no issue with this. I just want to be able to spend even more money to go to a private clinic as my timne is valuable and my life is priceless. Your public wait line will actually be shorter because I am not in it. Somebody right behind me in queue for the public MRI got their appointment earlier than if I hadn't gone to the private clinic. Its a win win situation.
So yes, this sounds like a great idea. Alternatively next time I feel under the weather I will simply turn and head for the states.
Posted by: NADINE ELOUTA | Mar 8, 2022 3:09:00 PM
Anything reasonable will do, because time is money .......
Posted by: mischief | Mar 8, 2022 3:17:52 PM
Letting people pay to get preferential treatment is going to rear up and bite us all in the ass....Right now NO civil servant pays a penny of the Ontario health levy......and right now the civiil service hax all manner of extra medical benefits not avianlable to the rest of us....they dont get marrooned in public wards with the increased odds of getting C-difficile and other drug resistant bugs.....and the number of illegal workers who use forged health cards when they need help is growing. Our loonie liberal legal system says the mail is sacred and cannot be interferred with even if the x-ray machine shows the package contains 500 forged cards being sent in from Nigeria.......the cops must wait till the package is picked up from a mail box before they can do anything...... add in the gross salaries and pensions and perks available to hospital `support` staff and no wonder there aint enough doctors, beds or nurses!!!!!
The only way to improve the system is to limit the opportunity for the rip-off artists to escape from it....if they get the same service as the rest of us they will be more interested in making it run well!!!
Posted by: joanne | Mar 8, 2022 3:48:36 PM
I just spent 45 mins waiting in a after hours clinic (on a Saturday) to find out that I had pneuomina. I also received a phone call from my doctors office to give me heck for not going to emergency to get looked after. Apparently I can't use another doctor when I am registered as her patient. Why would I spend hours at emergency - I don't care what the cost - when your sick your time is too valuable to spend sitting around in a hospital. Tell me what's wrong quickly and let me get home to bed. Our health care is in need of a great deal of improvement before I would pay anymore for it.
Posted by: PlentyPO'd | Mar 8, 2022 4:06:47 PM
ER is a joke. There isn't anything emergency about it. Family physicians don't look after you after regular office hours and they don't want you using walk-in clinics either. It used to be that at least one doctor in a practice was on call after hours to look after the simple stuff like the sniffles. Not any more they say go to emergency room so real emergencies go untreated while ER doctors treat the sniffles. The triage system is a joke because the volume of people is ridiculous.
My wife needed emergency treatment due to a serious systemic infection. The first hospital we went to was a 6 hour wait so we went to a second hospital since she was in such bad shape. By the time she was seen by a ER doctor we could have driven to Buffalo crossed the border and still waited 3 hours to see a doctor and beat the time it took in K-W.
Posted by: Steve K | Mar 8, 2022 4:16:42 PM
Just like the popular revolution in the States that says we are not broke its the same in Canada. We are not broke and we do not need to wait in an ER. We do not have to pay special fees to get that extra care.
Those corps and uberrich just keep on stealing our money and get it diverted to them instead of us. We end up suffering for their greed. In the end what we get is poorer health care, higher university tuition fees, less pensions, less daycare, less government services, less everything and that lessening of everything ends up in their hand as it doesn't go into thin air as some would have us believe.
Posted by: RootCuase | Mar 8, 2022 4:25:44 PM
Let's look at the REAL REASON there's so many people in the hospital...
Because civic, provincial and federal governments are allowing cities to build so people are packed in like sardines so one person gets sick and coughs, there are 200 people living in a 100 yard radius getting sick too.
Canada used to be the land of the 'free' but now they're packing everyone in like China or Japan telling and brainwashing everyone into thinking this is the BEST way to go... no freedom around you anymore... when in reality it boils down to how much MONEY you can make off real estate... so people have no choice but to live shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors if they was to live near a large center. Even Whitehorse and Yellowknife city councils are getting sucked into this B.S. 'sardine-style' planning... GIVE people SPACE and freedom for goodness sake!
Live in the country or north, and get a healthy lifestyle, and you wont need 20 doctors to suport 20,000 people!
LIVE HEALTHY! Stop eating aluminum and drinking plastic!
Just my opinion.
Posted by: Adrian | Mar 8, 2022 4:30:28 PM
The Canadian health care system is horrible. There are way too many people with minor issues going to the hospital because the walk in clinics are useless. I had to wait in ER with a broken wrist (the bone was clearly broken and out of place) for 7 hours before being seen while the screaming kids who had a runny nose and were healthy enough to climb over all the chairs went right in rather than being told to go see their family doctor - Oh right, there aren't enough family doctors for people either. The annoying thing is I already had an X-Ray done at my family doctors but needed the hospital to put the cast on - which took 20 mins.
Stop paying for more layers of admin and "studies" into the issue and give the money to the health care workers. A director of something or another in Ottawa shouldn't be deciding how many staff are working in Calgary, how would they know?
Almost every other westernized country has a public health care system and a private one. It works very well. Everyone pays taxes for the public one but if you don't want to wait 6 months for something you can pay to get done next week and you are then out of the public line making it shorter for those who don't/can't pay. Everyone wins.
It's about time Canada catches up with the rest of the world – have public and private systems or put enough money into the public system that it actually works.
Posted by: jim | Mar 8, 2022 4:43:25 PM
I feel for the people who have had to wait crazy hours just to see a doctor. Having to wait in the emergency room before being treated and having to wait before even seeing a doctor are very different things. Keep in mind that the doctors aren't making people wait unnecessarily. When you enter the emergency you obviously believe that you have an emergency. But a triage nurse will determine who's emergency is life threatening and who can live for a few hours without seeing a doctor. This may not sound great to some of you but it's a reality in hospitals everywhere, no matter whether you pay or not.
That being said what happened at Royal Columbian is brutal, and shows that more money needs to be put into our healthcare system. The reality is as time goes by this amount of money will have to increase. That's what blows me away when I hear about cutbacks to healthcare anywhere in the world, especially here. As years go by, so do the number of people living in every city. That means more patients who will need more doctors and nurses.
Despite every flaw that our system has I am still happy to have it. I recently spent some time in the hospital, two nights in emergency and five in regular recovery room. And this is why our system is great: I am 30 years old and worked for a company for almost ten years. After several years I knew I should leave but the money was good so I was comfortable, as happens to many of us. I did have big plans for the future, and was smart with my money, savings quite a bit and investing a good amount. Finally I got the balls to leave my job, and my healthcare package, and was going to open up my own business as I had been planning to do for a while. A month after I quit I fell ill and ended up in the hospital. No health benefits, nothing! Like I said before, a total of a week in the hospital and months of recovery. This hospital stay alone in the US would have cost me tens of thousands of dollars! Now I have that kind of money saved up, but think about yourselves and the average person these days. Do you have 30 or 40 grand just sitting in your bank account not being used?? Had I been forced to pay for my treatments, I would have also spent my life savings! I would have been in the same boat I was in just out of highschool - broke! Not to mention my plans for the future out the window. Without my capital and investments I would never have been able to get a loan from the bank. However, this is Canada, and you know what my hospital stay cost? The fee for the ambulance ride, less than $100! Now, almost a year later, I'm recovered and NOT broke, or in serious debt as thousands and thousands of Americans are over their own simple health!
Just something to think about next time you hear about wait times at the hospital. Also knowing that I personally may have been turned away from some hospitals in the US for not having coverage at all, makes me especially glad to be living here!