Over the last few years, some of Canada’s senior executives have been getting treated at the many for-profit clinics that have popped up from coast to coast. These clinics offer everything from preventive care to ways to increase sports performance to anti-aging strategies.
While there’s legitimate debate about creating a two-tiered health care system in this country, the public system still guarantees all Canadians basic health coverage. Unlike in the U.S., private health care here is more about augmenting what’s already in place by providing more choices for services not currently covered by our system.
Private clinics provide more convenience and more personal attention than most hard-pressed family doctors can offer.
Those who can afford it, though – mostly executives who are valuable to their companies – can get more help from a doctor than the average Canadian. Private clinics provide more convenience and more personal attention than most hard-pressed family doctors can offer. In some cases, such as when you’re out of the country, you can access a doctor by phone at any time and day of the week.
Medisys Corporate Health, a Quebec-based company with 15 private medical clinics in eight Canadian cities, is one private provider that’s popular with the business crowd.
It offers preventive health services and customized travel care to over 6,000 corporations. Its annual executive health assessment, which isn’t just for executives, includes an evaluation for cancer and cardiac risk as well as a marathon of tests and a scrutiny of your lifestyle.
It costs $1,950, plus $1,500 for a year of ongoing attention. You’ll also receive a healthy, nutritionist-designed breakfast or lunch, such as yogurt and high-protein grains, while you’re being tested.
“It’s more like stepping into the Four Seasons than a doctor’s office,” says Joseph Lo, president of Medisys Corporate Health. What’s also convenient is that all the testing is done under one roof, a perk common to most private clinics.
Patients also get easy access to their medical records, which is something business people like, says Lo. “The other part that appeals to business people, because they’re so data driven, is having full access and control of their numbers over time,” says Lo. “All that information is confidential, even if the company pays for it.”
The term “executive health” is a bit of a misnomer, according to Meegan Guest, vice-president of communications and planning for Cleveland Clinic Canada, an outpatient centre featuring a 26,000-sq.-ft. facility in downtown Toronto. Everyone is welcome to use their executive health program – as long as they pay the $2,995 fee. That covers a six-hour head-to-toe assessment with a variety of providers including a physician, nurse, exercise physiologist, registered dietician and member of its psychology team.
While people should still keep their family doctor and make use of the public system, private health clinics can give an extra boost of care that you can’t get elsewhere, says Guest. “What’s different about this is the time,” says Guest. “We limit the number of patients to five a day. Our goal is helping to prevent disease and identifying risks that can be addressed with your lifestyle.”