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The Ill That Ails Us: In Jorgenson’s Own Words

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Got this last night from Daren Jorgenson, the Internet pharmacist and Four Rivers Medical Clinic founder.

Jorgenson plans to open up a new family medicine clinic in Charleswood http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/for-profit-medical-centre-set-to-open-85647397.html in a few weeks that’ll use nurse practitioners to see most patients. Patients will pay a fee based on their need—the more complicated the more expensive.
Jorgenson says he believes his clinic won't run into afoul of government.

He says nurse practitioners do not fall under the Canada Health Act because they're not defined as a physician and they won't be working in a hospital setting.

Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald said in a recent Canadian Press report the province is not going to challenge Jorgenson.

Here’s Jorgenson’s email:

www.choice.ca <http://www.choice.ca> is set to expand its patient pay services across Manitoba and Canada.

Below is our plan on how the Canadian Healthcare system could be reformed to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

3 Point Access Strategy for Healthcare Services and Products and the creation of the Universal Healthcare Sustainability Tax ( UHST )

www.fourriversmedical.com <http://www.fourriversmedical.com> / www.choicemedicalservices.com <http://www.choicemedicalservices.com> / www.choice.ca <http://www.choice.ca>

We believe that the present healthcare demands of our Canadian society are at or nearing a tipping point past which the present Universal Healthcare system will NOT be sustainable. We believe that nobody could have predicted in the 1960's when Universal Healthcare in Canada was created the dramatic advances in 3 key areas of healthcare which are contributing to the dramatic increases in health care delivery costs:

Three Key Areas of Advances
1 - advanced surgical procedures
2 - new expensive pharmaceutical interventions
3 - ever increasing diagnostic capabilities
(soon to impact health care budgets will be a 4th area which is the mainstreaming of genetic healthcare options)

You combine that with an aging and an increasingly unhealthy population and it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep pace with all the healthcare advances and delivery cost increases without thinking outside the box.

We believe in a 3 Point Access Strategy of Healthcare for Canadians

1 - Universal Healthcare but with hard limits on what it can and cannot afford ( e.g. Cancer drugs which only keep people alive for a few more months but at substantial costs to the system in my opinion should not be covered ).

At this point I would like to make a VERY important statement. No matter what Universal Healthcare system is created, adopted, or modified ( e.g. the USA vs. Canada vs. the UK ) no system will be able to keep pace with funding of future healthcare advances. Thus, for any politician to state that they can "fix" universal healthcare or as in the present US political debate - create Universal Healthcare without stating that what we create in terms of equality of access today will not be sustainable in the long term. As medical advances keep coming there is always going to have to be a "re-adjustment" in expectations from the public as to what medical advances a Universal Healthcare system can and cannot afford to provide on an equal basis to all citizens.

2 - Private Healthcare in Canada with 3 caveats:
1 - Create a new tax called the "Universal Healthcare Sustainability Tax" or "UHST on ALL Private Healthcare Services Canadians pay for in Canada and have those taxes directly funnelled to the Universal Healthcare system. Think what a small tax of 2% could do if you added it to ALL the currently defined private healthcare services ( dental, physio, eye care, private home care etc... ) - I think Canadians would accept this new Universal Healthcare Sustainability Tax because it helps fund the equality in healthcare system that Canadians so much value and want to protect. I further believe they would support an even higher UHST on some of the newer Private Healthcare offerings like Private MRI's, Private Surgeries, etc and these services perhaps could be taxed at 10%.
2 - put controls in place to ensure the professional workforce required for Universal Healthcare is not put at risk.
3 - that there is an independent watch dog agency set up to ensure that Private Healthcare in Canada is operating in a manner that does not create false healthcare needs. This should be also funded by a taxation on all Private Healthcare services in Canada.

3 - ( Globalization of the Healthcare System ) Outsource the Procurement of Healthcare Services and Products to cheaper market places when it can be proven that these services and products are:
1 - safe and effective
2 - meet certain % cost saving targets vs. having these services or products provided in Canada.
3 - the patient voluntarily accepts it and it is not forced upon them.

E.g. Of Products would be reverse internet pharmacy where I could provide certain drugs like Lipitor ( the exact same Lipitor made by Pfizer ) to Canadians from our Australian or New Zealand pharmacies at almost 50% savings to Canadians.

E.g. Of Services could be 90 day intensive Drug Rehab Programs in Cuba like we offer via www.choice.ca <http://www.choice.ca> . We are having great success with the Manitoba drug addicts we send to Cuba as we follow them when they come back. There currently does NOT exist intensive 90 day "in patient" Drug Rehab Programs in Manitoba.

I personally do not believe that Tommy Douglas meant to create a healthcare system that sees the government uniformly pay for everyone regardless of income levels. I know his real concern was to address the access to healthcare for those that could not afford it. I support co-pays based on income levels for most healthcare goods and services I am confident I can convince you to agree to these.

I am a strong supporter of getting the patient more involved in their healthcare through empowerment of choice and easy access to their medical information such as lab results. The patient in theory should be the most motivated individual to see best possible health outcomes. The patient is more motivated than the receptionist, nurse, pharmacist, physician etc and they do not draw a salary or bill the government for their services.

I believe there should be a much greater investment in software & technology to allow the healthcare to become streamlined and more efficient. It does not take all the money that continues to be wasted at various government e-health agencies and there is NO WAY each Province should be trying to build this on their own - it needs to be Federally controlled.

This Universal Healthcare Sustainability Tax on foods/beverages such as Soft Drinks, Candies, High Trans Fat Foods, etc... I think Canadians would accept a 2% tax on these items if they knew the tax revenue was going directly into the Universal Healthcare System Access Point #1 instead of general accounts.

We need to also be more aggressive with Tax Credits for expenses that lead to healthier Canadians ( e.g. Gym Memberships, Sports Registration Fees, etc

We also need to create a pro-active healthcare system that tracks how well people are taking care of themselves. Then use this tracking to adjust income based co-payments on healthcare services. So if you avoided going for your Annual Colonoscopy check up 10 years in a row and now have Colon Cancer that will cost the system more money then you should pay a higher deductable for your healthcare ( remember it is still based on ability to pay and co-pay $ amounts are income dependent ).

The National Health Service ( NHS ) in the UK which delivers the publicly funded healthcare to British citizens has just announced that they will be putting in place a plan to start accessing cheaper healthcare services from other European Union countries such as Bulgaria to help address the cost increases of delivering healthcare.

The Supreme Court rulings have opened the door for Private Healthcare in Canada so don't put your head in the sand and pretend it's not already here and that it won't be expanding because it will !!!!

Open any Yellow Page book in any major Canadian city and you will see ads for American Private healthcare facilities such as the Mayo Clinic. Why are these ads there ? Obviously, because Canadians are buying private healthcare from these companies. So our Cuban option is NOT so groundbreaking as people think. The only thing we are doing that is different is bringing a cheaper foreign healthcare option to Canadians.

Last point is we do NOT have Universal Healthcare in Canada. We have a Universal Payer System for Physician and Hospital Services and even these "Universal Services" are not equally accessed by. The poor, the mentally ill, the aboriginals living in remote communities, etc certainly do not have equal access to these "Universal Services."

* Canada does not have Universal:
- Dental Healthcare
- Eye Healthcare
- Mental Health Healthcare
- Physio/Massage/Chiro. Healthcare
- Pharmaceutical Healthcare
- Long Term Residential/Hospice
Healthcare
- Hearing Healthcare
- and the list goes on and on

Take Care,
Daren Jorgenson

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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