Canadian doctors still make dramatically less than U.S. counterparts: study

Canadian doctor charged in alleged PED scheme

Dr. Anthony Galea has treated a number of different athletes, including Tiger Woods in his recovery of a knee injury.

health-policy professors concluded in one of the most detailed looks yet at the differences in doctor compensation between nations. The U.K. also pays its surgeons more than Canada, while both it and Germany better compensate primary-care doctors, like family physicians and pediatricians, the comparison of six industrialized countries suggests. Canada should not ignore the wage gap, as a sudden shortage of certain specialists in the States could trigger a drain from here, said Dr. John Haggie, president of the Canadian Medical Association. Canada saw a net loss of doctors to the U.S. in the 1990s, as provinces instituted doctor pay caps and tried to rein-in fee increases as a way to corral health costs. But Dr. Haggie voiced no particular envy Tuesday at the statistics just published in the journal Health Affairs , saying that factors other than money influence where doctors settle, including for some the appeal of Canadas universal, government-funded health system. A good salary package is an attractor, its a magnet but it doesnt always have the same effect at the other end when youre trying to retain people, said Dr. Haggie. The system in which (physicians) work is part of the attraction of working here. That migration to the U.S. has reversed in the last few years, with a small net influx of MDs from south of the border as incomes rose here, according to statistics and the accounts of medical recruitment agencies. The new studys authors, both health policy professors at New Yorks Columbia University, did the research to help detail why the cost of health care is so steep in the U.S. compared to other countries. It may partly reflect an American society where the mostly highly educated and skilled people in all fields tend to earn a bigger chunk of the overall wealth than similar groups in other countries, Miriam Laugesen, the lead researcher, said in an interview.

he has a good point

Doctors are working less for more

Anthony Michael Galea, 51, of Oakville, Ontario, was charged with selling an unapproved drug, conspiracy to import the drug; conspiracy to export and smuggling goods into Canada. The investigation got under way last September, when Galea’s assistant was taken into custody departing Canada with Actovegin, the RCMP said in a statement that alleged Galea was planning to administer the drug to some of his patients outside Canada. Actovegin, a derivative of calf’s liver blood, is approved for use in some European countries. A report in shows that it has been investigated as a possible treatment for nerve damage in diabetics, though it has not been approved for use in the United States. The RCMP investigators also allege that Galea administered the drugs to patients and conspired to export them to the United States. Video: Doctor accused in PED scheme RELATED TOPICS Tiger Woods On October 15, Canadian officials executed a search warrant on Galea’s medical facilities, the Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Center, resulting in the seizure of unapproved drugs, believed to be Actovegin, from the doctor’s office, the RCMP statement said. Galea is to appear Friday morning at Old City Hall Court in Toronto. One of Galea’s patients was Tiger Woods , whom he treated last year after the golfer underwent knee surgery. In a written statement, Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg at IMG said his client received a “widely accepted therapy” from Galea. Steinberg disputed a New York Times report in which Galea claimed IMG referred Woods to him for treatment. “Despite totally false press speculation, no one at IMG has ever met or recommended Dr. Galea, nor were we worried about the progress of Tiger’s recovery,” Steinberg said. “The treatment Tiger received is a widely accepted therapy and to suggest some connection with illegality is recklessly irresponsible. That rehabilitation did not involve human growth hormone, a substance that Tiger has never taken.” Galea has also worked with Olympic athletes and professional baseball, football and hockey players. Brian H. Greenspan, Galea’s lawyer, denied his client ever supplied any star athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and said his client would prove his innocence of all charges.

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These countries range from a high of Greece, with 6.1 practising doctors per 1,000 people, to Chile’s low of 1.6. Canada is just behind the United States at 2.5 and ahead of Japan, Mexico and Poland — all tied at 2.2. Recent Canadian growth in physician ranks has some pundits alarmed. In a new study for Health Policy, however, I demonstrate it is not growing physician numbers we need to worry so much about. The greater strain on our health budgets will come not from more doctors, but from more doctors earning more while working less. Estimated determinants of provincial government health spending show physician numbers alone are indeed a positive driver of health-care spending after controlling for other factors. From 1975 to 2009, the increases in physician numbers accounted for a range of about three to 13 per cent of the increase in average real per-capita total provincial government health expenditures, ranging from a low of two to eight per cent for Manitoba to a high of five to 18 per cent for Quebec. These results support the conventional wisdom that expansion in the number of billing physicians is itself a driver of health-system spending. Yet physician numbers contribute less to spending increases than do increasing fees and service volumes. Indeed, a Canadian Institute for Health Information study on health cost drivers found new technology, utilization and price inflation at the top of the list, along with population growth and aging. We also need to recognize that many of our doctors are working fewer hours than in generations past. One study found 27.7 per cent of Canadian family doctors reduced their work hours between 2005 and 2007, and 33.9 per cent of them planned further reductions in their weekly work hours between 2007 and 2009.

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