Hospitals in border cities, including Detroit, are forging lucrative arrangements with Canadian health agencies to provide care not widely available across the border.See also this story on Canadian cutbacks.
Agreements between Detroit hospitals and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for heart, imaging tests, bariatric and other services provide access to some services not immediately available in the province, said ministry spokesman David Jensen.
The agreements show how a country with a national care system -- a proposal not part of the health care changes under discussion in Congress -- copes with demand for care with U.S. partnerships, rather than building new facilities.
Michael Vujovich, 61, of Windsor was taken to Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital for an angioplasty procedure after he went to a Windsor hospital in April. Vujovich said the U.S. backup doesn't show a gap in Canada's system, but shows how it works.
"I go to the hospital in Windsor and two hours later, I'm done having angioplasty in Detroit," he said. His $38,000 bill was covered by the Ontario health ministry.
Dany Mercado, a leukemia patient from Kitchener, Ontario, is cancer-free after getting a bone marrow transplant at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.
Told by Canadian doctors in 2007 he couldn't have the procedure there, Mercado's family and doctor appealed to Ontario health officials, who agreed to let him have the transplant in Detroit in January 2008.
The Karmanos Institute is one of several Detroit health facilities that care for Canadians needing services not widely available in Canada.
Canada, for example, has waiting times for bariatric procedures to combat obesity that can stretch to more than five years, according to a June report in the Canadian Journal of Surgery.
As a result, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in April designated 13 U.S. hospitals, including five in Michigan and one more with a tentative designation, to perform bariatric surgery for Canadians.
The agreements provide "more immediate services for patients whose health is at risk," Jensen said.
(via Don Surber)