Quebec FP practises outside Medicare

A 54-year-old Montreal family physician, Dr. Viviane Provost, has been practising outside Medicare for three years.  A 1985 medical graduate, she spent  many 50-70 hour weeks in the public system. Her story is told in the Canadian Healthcare Network

Patients at the PrivaMed family practice clinic pay:

  • $60, 10-minute phone interview with a doctor
  • $85, 15-minute appointment with a doctor, and $110 for 20 minutes
  • $160, annual physical.

Here are some Medicare fees that Alberta Health pays family physicians*:

  • Phone call with patient:  $15.12 [regardless of time spent and maximum of 7 calls per week in total, not per patient]
  • Phone call with home care: $16.99 [regardless of time spent and maximum 2 calls per day]
  • 15 min appointment with MD: $37 + $17.68 for each additional 15 minutes;  maximum 6 extras per day
  • Annual physical exam: $101.93 + $31.11 if over 30 minutes
  • Phone call with pharmacist: $15.12 [regardless of time spent and maximum 2 calls per day]

*Average overhead costs [e.g., office staff, supplies, rent, etc.,] for an Alberta family physician are about 50%, i.e., $15.12 becomes $7. 56 before paying income taxes.

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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