Public vs. Private Hospitals – Why Go Private?

Privately operated clinics have their pros and cons. On one side, being able to skip the typical long hospital wait list and be seen within days can be extremely convenient. On the other – it comes with a cost. There are over 100 private clinics across Canada that are typically run independently by physicians/surgeons who charge patients hundreds or thousands of dollars for procedures in their facilities. These clinics are completely legal as long as they are following industry standards and comply with the Ministry’s billing laws. Various procedures are performed in these clinics such as MRI scans, numerous types of surgeries, and even just regular check-ups. Despite the cost, they are becoming more popular than ever. This blog post covers why some people are choosing private clinics over healthcare covered by insurance.

Less chance of infections and complications

Unlike public hospitals, many private sector facilities don’t even have overnight beds. In fact, laws in British Columbia for example, actually prohibit patients from staying at private clinics for over 24 hours. When you contrast this with hospitals who may have hundreds of patients being treated there for days at a time, you can imagine the odds of getting infections or viruses are much higher. In fact, 1 in 10 patients admitted to the hospital will get a hospital-acquired infection during their stay. Some of the most common infections range from urinary tract infections to pneumonia and meningitis. Infections like these affect how quickly patients recover from their operation which is why people may choose a private clinic. Surgeries done in private clinics are usually elective – meaning that they are planned in advance by the patient and not always necessary. This gives the clinic much more time to prepare and properly plan the procedure to avoid potential complications afterwards. Public clinics do not always have this option as many of their emergency surgeries are unplanned and performed on much shorter notice. When a procedure is rushed and the patient is unprepared, it is more common for something to go wrong.

Convenience and turnaround time

What many patients may not realize is that their physician or surgeon may also be operating their own private clinics as well as working in the public hospital. You may wait months to see your surgeon in a public hospital but you can also arrange to see them more quickly in their private clinic – for a cost. A study from the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows that only 50% of people in Ontario ages 18 and older were able to receive a knee replacement surgery less than 92 days after booking it. As waiting months for a procedure can be both extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable, private practices can provide a quicker alternative. While many surgeries in the hospital are covered by insurance, surgeons can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for those exact same procedures in their own clinics. The cost may be worth it for some people, when you consider that fact that you could essentially have your surgery done just days after a consultation.

The most common operations done in private clinics include one-day cataract surgery and hip and knee replacements. Some of these procedures typically take weeks to recover from and not surprisingly, many patients would prefer to recover from the comfort of their home. With the accessibility, post-operative support and quick turnaround times of private surgeons, this is now an option for some patients.

Private and personalized

Private clinics earned that name for a reason. With a much more balanced doctor to patient ratio than public facilities, patients are likely to get much more individual and personalized care. Choosing to go to a private clinic allows for more customized options to fit your needs –  such as the ability to select the physician of your choice and having a more comfortable room all to yourself without having to pay extra. Of course, every clinic offers different benefits but reputation is something that matters greatly to them. Because these physicians and surgeons may not be working in a busy hospital environment with multiple patients a day, they have the ability to be more attentive to your individual needs. Many private clinics provide 24/7 support for the days following a patient’s discharge in order to monitor recovery and avoid complications. Private clinics can also be more specialized than hospitals in the sense that they focus on select specific procedures. For example, websites like this will help you find private clinics near you that will specialize in different areas like audiology, cardiology, and dermatology.

When you consider the higher level of personal attention and the convenience, the higher cost of private clinics doesn’t sound so bad to some people. Even though private clinics often don’t take health insurance, paying the money out-of-pocket can have its benefits. Being able to skip the wait line and have your procedure done by the doctor of your choice within days is a great incentive. Private clinics can be found across the country a simple Google search can help you find one close to you that suits your individual needs.

Featured image courtesy of Remedy Pharmacy.

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