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Medicare advocates decry medical tourism
The following excerpt was published at www.cmaj.ca on August 25, 2014 by Wendy Glauser, Toronto, Ont.
"Medical tourism conjures up destinations like India and Brazil, but two Toronto hospitals want foreigners to think of Canada for surgeries and cancer treatment. Toronto's Sunnybrook and University Health Network (UHN) hospitals are accepting — and charging — foreign patients, yet refusing to disclose key details about their medical tourism programs, which has raised concerns among medicare advocates.
Sunnybrook Hospital launched a program to treat medical tourists in January, while UHN formalized its program three years ago. Under the programs, medical tourists travel specifically for treatment and pay much higher rates than Canadian patients — which is a far cry from the humanitarian or emergency treatment of international visitors.
In April, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, the Association of Ontario Midwives, the Association of Ontario Health Centres and the Medical Reform Group called on the provincial government to ban medical tourism, which they argue draws resources away from Ontario patients and lays the foundation for a broader two-tier system..."
Full transcript at: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2014/08/25/cmaj.109-4874.full.pdf