Canadian Doctors Say Fee Cuts, Pay Inequalities Will Spur Exodus


CT, MRI scans for chronic low-back pain: Service removed, except where province says medically justified, cutting $10-million. OCT test for eye disease: Fee cut from $63 to $25; service limited to four times a year from six, saving $18-million. Echocardiograms: Heart scans before non-cardiac surgery cut, saving $20-million. Self-referring diagnostic service: Fees for diagnostic tests where doctor both orders service and provides it cut by half, saving $44-million. After-hours surgery: Premium for operations done between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. cut to 40% from 50%, saving $13-million. Minimally invasive surgery: Premium for key-hole operations cut to 10% from 25%, saving $1-million. This is by no means the first time doctors and provincial governments have been at loggerheads over how much the profession earns. Rightly or wrongly, provinces identified the rising costs of physician services in the early 1990s as a key and unjustifiable drain on resources, triggering a somewhat-disastrous curb in medical-school enrolments, as well as billing caps and other free restrictions. From 1975 to 1998, doctor compensation rose by less than the rate of inflation, CIHI reports. The austerity measures helped fuel a flood of physicians south of the boarder, with an average of 186 Canadian-trained doctors a year ending up in the U.S. from 1996 to 2004, according to a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Shaken by a growing shortage of physicians and expanding patient wait lists, governments in the 2000s started boosting medical school enrolment again, while approving sweeter pay deals. Fees rose by an average of 3.6% a year, CIHI says. How much, then, do Canadian doctors make?

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Canada has more doctors, making more money than ever

They face the litany of charges, the same laundry list of charges, that include murder and arson and attacking a police station, that John and Tarek do. So, this is, you know, part of a severe crackdown thats happening. What is surprising is that, as Westerners, as Canadians, that they havent been spared the abuses of the Egyptian government, which is usually saved for Egyptian citizens. And so, its anybodys guess as to why theyre still being held. AMY GOODMAN: Now, Dr. Loubani was actually treating people there, and afterwards they actually went up to the military to ask directions back to their hotel, and it was there, at that checkpoint, that they arrested them? SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Yeah, he said in the letter that he helped treat some wounded people, and then they went to gothey got some ice cream, and they were looking for something to eat while things had calmed down a bit. And they walked up to a checkpoint. There was many checkpoints around that area, a lot of military and police. And thats when they were arrested. And he said they were taken into the police station.

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Canadian Filmmaker and Doctor Imprisoned in Egypt Without Charges, Abused After Witnessing Massacre

But that would be premature, he noted. For one thing, the number of physicians in rural Canada in not proportional with the rural population: While 18 per cent of Canadians, or about six million people, live in rural communities, just 8.5 per cent of the countrys 75,142 doctors served those people. That gap may be a reason that the number of Canadians who say they do not have a regular family doctor has stagnated at about 4.4 million in recent years, according to Statistics Canada. Its tempting to suspect the situation is improving . . . but were not seeing a change in those numbers, Mr. Ballinger said. Shortage or no shortage? For many of those 4.4 million people, not having a family doctor is a choice. They are content to seek care at walk-in clinics. But nearly 800,000 reported that they did not have a place to go for regular care. The figures do not necessarily mean a shortage of physicians, said Tom Noseworthy, a health policy professor at the University of Calgary.

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