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Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare Reform’

Expanding Canadian Healthcare in the USA: A New Frontier for Arizona

The Co-Chairs of the Canada-Surprise, Arizona Cross-Border Healthcare Task Force hosted a panel presentation and discussion on the topic of Expanding Canadian Healthcare in the USA: A New Frontier in Arizona


By Casey Kuhn
Senior Field Correspondent
91.5 KJZZ

They say the leaves don’t change here — but the license plates do. ‘Tis the season for snowbirds traveling south to Arizona. One city is looking to bring health care that is targeted especially for those coming from our northern border neighbor.

Canadian health care leaders are in the Valley this week with Surprise officials discussing how to bring Canadian medical services to the area.

Jeanine Jerkovic is Surprise’s economic development director and helped spearhead the program.

“When you’re a city called Surprise, you know you have to be interesting,” Jerkovic said. “We like to welcome new people, we like to pilot new things, we’re a very young community.”

The idea is to set up a place in Surprise where Canadian doctors can practice and the snowbirds can get medical services and rehabilitation in a warm place.

Marc Kealey is a Canadian advocate of health reform and says the wait times in Canada for orthopedic surgery are long.

“This is a valve release,” Kealey said. “If we looked at this and said right now the wait times in Canada for hips and knees are anywhere from twelve to eighteen months. That’s unconscionable.”

There are about 20,000 Canadian-owned housing units in the Valley, and many are being occupied now as winter arrives and snowbirds migrate.

Canadian lawyer Chris MacLeod said it’s a good opportunity.

“The genius of what Surprise has done is create or at least capture a real opportunity that exists to deliver Canadian health care to Canadians in a climate and community that is welcoming and endearing,” said MacLeod.

A feasibility study is still being conducted to figure out the cost of bringing Canadian doctors to Surprise.

Original article: KJZZ.org

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image © Jacob Stanek

By Richard Smith
Independent Newsmedia

Canadians already flock to the Valley of the Sun — and the Northwest Valley in particular — in droves every winter.

Arizona is home to more than 350 Canadian companies and more than 1.1 million Canadians visit our state annually, according to the Canada Arizona Business Council. While many are here on vacation, some Canadians could get work done if an ambitious venture from Surprise and a Canadian healtchcare leader comes to fruition.

“There are so many Canadians that visit and invest in the market,” said Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic, a former a trade commissioner for the Canadian Consulate in Phoenix.

During the June 20 City Council work session Ms. Jerkovic and Marc Kealey, CEO of Kealey & Associates in Toronto, presented the possibility of a new Canadian medical service center in Surprise aimed at patients who desire Canadian medical standards without the long wait times for services.

Mr. Kealey said a increasing percentage of the Canadian population is age 65 or older, and a decent amount of this aging population already spends a considerable amount of time in the United States — with Arizona a top destination.

Healthcare in Canada is publically (i.e. government) funded but privately delivered. Mr. Kealey said it is not free for consumers, a common misconception, but costs are generally manageable.

However, this model affects how often physicians can work and the availability of some types of medical procedures. For example, Mr. Kealey said, in many parts of Canada, orthopedic surgeons can only work one day a week, since it is too expensive to keep their facilities open four or five days a week.

“There are people that are in Canada who are waiting up to 18 months to get a (new) hip or knee,” Mr. Kealey said.

In the province of Ontario alone, he said, 30,000 residents are waiting for these replacements. Mr. Kealey has spent three decades in healthcare and said the wait times have been an issue at least 25 of those years.

Plus, Canada’s harsh winters wipe out a good chunk of the year for post-operation rehabilitation.

“It is really stupid to do a hip or knee (replacement) in Canada in February,” Mr. Kealey said.

Kealey & Associates is an advocacy and strategy implementation firm in Canada specializing in healthcare and drug reform.

He said a lot of people have tried to operate private clinics in upstate New York, Florida and on the West Coast.

For years, Mr. Kealey searched for a place to do something a bit different. Surprise became the choice, he said, because of its assertive nature and willingness to think outside the box.

In February, Mayor Sharon Wolcott appointed Ms. Jerkovic and Mr. Kealey as co-chairs for a cross-border taskforce to research and identify ways in which Surprise can support expanded healthcare services to Canadians who visit or reside in the area.

Councilman John Williams lived in New York before Surprise and is familiar with the Canadian health system.

“I love the concept. We’re serving the greater good. The wait times have been going on for a long time,” he said.

While the big-picture concept is sound, the rest of this year is likely to be spent seeing if details can be worked out. Roundtables are scheduled for Toronto later this summer and Surprise in the fall.

A decision should come in the winter and, if favorable, the program could start in 2018.

Surgeries are more likely in winter, early spring or late fall, followed by a rehabilitation stint here.

“One of the things we’ve landed on is the notion that there is infrastructure here already. The infrastructure here is complementary to what we want to do,” Mr. Kealey said. “As a concrete example, we know that if you can’t get a hip or knee (replacement) in Canada for 18 months and there is an option to do that here, we’ll market that to patients. We looked at things like once a patient is here, how long would they need to be here. When you look at opportunities for post-op, there’s an existing infrastructure in tele-medicine that could link from Surprise, Arizona to that patient’s physician back home, even before the surgery.”

In particular, he is talking about MD24, the Surprise-based tele-medicince company that grew from Surprise’s incubator. That kind of medical integration is exciting, Mr. Kealey said, and a hallmark of the Canadian system.

Second issue is to formalize the feasibility of providing the service here. Costs, providers and facilities would have to be consistent with those in Canada.

Mr. Kealey said the extra cost to patients — and earnings potential for Surprise — would be travel related.

Employment for local workers would come from the ancillary medical jobs, such as nurses, personal suppork workers and nurse practicioners.

“There are issues with having Canadian physicians credentialed to actually practice here. Obviously we’re looking at Canadian phisicians concentrating on Canadian patients who would be here. We’ve got to make sure the regulatory issue is handled,” Mr. Kealey said. “We’ve done the econo-metrics on this. We know our fee structure in Canada, so we want to have the fee srtucture from Canada actually imposed down here. The analogy would be almost a consular service for health care — walking into a Canadian clinic, as it were. There’s a Canadian flag flying outside, the physicians doing work are to Canadian standards and are Canadian physicians and the fee structure is the Canadian system.”

Photo credit: Jacob Stanek
Original article: YourWestValley.com

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In the wake of pharmacy reform and massive rebates still flowing to retail chains and independent pharmacy buying groups, the one time darling of the pharmacy world SDM’s future as a investor bet is being openly challenged.

The one time SDM “cheerleader”, analyst Perry Caico of CIBC World Markets, who had been referred to by politicians as THE unbridled stock promoter for SDM, has said he is “concerned” for the once great stock investment.

He claims pharmacy reform and government strong-arming has and will compromise the viability of SDM as the perfect investment.

As the former CEO of the largest professional association of pharmacists in Canada and, immodestly, as a go-to resource for government and private sector organizations on drug plan reform and augmentation, I submit that the issue is not government – it’s a flawed business model in pharmacy.

There is a disconnect between what the public wants and what traditional retail pharmacy in Canada is begging to keep.

In fact, the pall on traditional pharmacy in Canada is not the fault of government. Governments across the country have been and remain concerned that rebates to pharmacy from generic manufacturers artificially keep prices for generic medicines the highest in the world. Pharmacy has been slow to react to government reform from the outset, catering to the notion of staying “whole” rather than adjusting their business models.

I make speeches across North America on drug reform. Audiences tell me they become enraged at what they hear about the massive profits being made by pharmacy when costs continue to rise year over year on private sector plans. It doesn’t make sense in my opinion. With demographic increases in numbers of prescriptions being dispensed, the patent cliff making generic drugs more prolific, one would assume prices and costs would decrease. So how does it work that costs are increasing?

In the work we do, we can confirm that the public and government are ahead of the curve on pharmacy reform and will talk and walk with their feet when confronted with high prices for drugs, variable fee structures from one pharmacy organization to the other and an increasing understanding of how this drug system has set pharmacy up as the biggest beneficiary.

The US, UK, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and even Ireland have undergone real drug reform. One that doesn’t hide the fact that designing a system means realizing lower costs and prices.

With governments leading the charge on making real change in prescription drug plan reviews and retail pharmacy still playing the game of introducing schemes and ‘blueprints’ to maintain their position – little wonder analysts are turning on the once and mighty chains!!

The beneficiaries are undoubtedly the public and plan members who may see new models considered and introduced.

M. Kealey - Economic Club of Canada

Economic Club of Canada

- Marc Kealey
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Is Canada on sleeping medication?

Sunday, December 11, 2011 @ 05:12 PM

I’m here in Hanoi, Vietnam – again.  This is my second trip in the last two months.  It’s interesting, the last time I was here at the beginning of September; the former Ambassador to Canada and now a noted advisor to the Central Government scolded us by saying “Canada is asleep on Asia Pacific”.   I think he’s right!

Our trip this month was to sign a cooperation agreement between the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Investment, which, as many who do international business know, is the government’s external link to other countries seeking business opportunity.

Our signing ceremony was historic, it is the first such agreement between private sector enterprise in Canada and the government of Vietnam.  There were noted dignitaries from Vietnam at the event, including the current Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada, who spoke glowingly about Canada and the opportunity that exists between the two countries.  There was decent media coverage too, but the meeting was cut short. Why? Because the US government, with a large business contingent, was in the same building as we were to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the trade cooperation agreement between the two countries.

As I reflected on that, I wondered why our Canadian Embassy wasn’t at our event.  Why no one from the Canadian government showed up.  It’s not as if either wasn’t given ample notice.  In fact, on our last visit, we specifically met Embassy commercial counsel to brief up on the event to happen in the ensuing months.

This leads me to my point – Is Canada asleep when it comes to Asia Pacific?

I’d say it has one eye closed. The sum total of Canada’s interest in Asia Pacific lays, in my opinion, with China.  Why?  Because I believe we think we have a better opportunity there because of the strained relations China shares with the USA.

If the former Ambassador is right about Canada being asleep, and I believe he is, then the opportunity for Canada is the fact that Vietnam is the gateway to ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) – some 680 million people strong.  Countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. all of whom need healthcare innovation, quality education, high technology industry and good manufacturing processes and natural resources like oil, gas and minerals.

Canada has traditional north-south dialogue (witness recent free trade agreements with Chile and Colombia).

But what about a dialogue with ASEAN countries?

The Keystone XL fiasco from Obama’s chicken-hearted approach to dealing with environmental lobby groups in Washington is a case in point.  Let’s take advantage of his misstep by helping develop ASEAN by putting an elbow bend in the Oil Sands pipeline and having a terminal on the west coast of Canada to deliver our oil to energy developing ASEAN countries.

With this beach-head, we can lay to waste the notion that Canada is asleep and we can use large-scale exports as a means to deliver on other expertise in healthcare, education, hi-tech and other natural resources.

And maybe, just maybe, the Canadian embassies and their commercial counsels in ASEAN countries might wake up and help Canadian business flourish there.

Canada Vietnam Business Council signing ceremony

- Marc Kealey
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I will be speaking with Dr. Gordon Atherley from Family Caregivers Unite! for a podcast on how to help with diabetes for diabetics and their families.

You can get the latest information on the podcast by visiting VoiceAmerica.com.

Marc Kealey is a lead voice in North America on health reform, integrated health and drug benefit plan enhancement, and healthcare policy. John Wunderlich is an independent information and privacy consultant in Toronto who describes himself as a middle-aged guy with Type II diabetes who’s active in a political party. They discuss diabetes-related challenges. They say how well these challenges are being met by the healthcare system, healthcare professionals and persons with diabetes and their families. For improving the way the challenges are being met, they explore the responsibilities they see for the healthcare system, for healthcare professionals and for persons with diabetes and for their families. Then they say what they would see done to improve responses to the challenges of diabetes, and what would change if their prescriptions for change were implemented.

Tune in on July 26th at 1PM EST.

- Marc Kealey
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What healthcare reform should mean for family caregivers.

May 3, 2011 – Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

Marc Kealey, Chief Advocate, Kealey & Associates, is a lead voice in North America on health reform, enhancement of health and drug plans, and healthcare policy. He describes his own experience with family caregiving, and way this has influenced his views on healthcare reform. He explains the three toughest challenges for healthcare reform in North America. He talks about the challenges for family caregiving, the ways family caregivers help the healthcare system, and the help family caregivers get, and don’t get, from the healthcare system. He identifies the health conditions for which family caregivers particularly need more help, and about the help they need. He explores the help for family caregivers that healthcare reform currently visions, and tells us what he would like to see done through healthcare reform to get more help for family caregivers, and from where and how the help should be provided. He suggests ways in which family caregivers can influence healthcare reformers.

Listen Online – http://www.voiceamerica.com/voiceamerica/vshow.aspx?sid=1669

- Marc Kealey
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Pharmacists are Canada’s most accessible health professionals and play an important role in promoting, maintaining and improving the health of the communities they serve.   Health promotion is now firmly on Ontario’s healthcare agenda and there is both an opportunity and a need for community pharmacists to become more involved in delivering public health services.

Every day Ontario pharmacists work as advocates for health. They support self help. They are local and accessible and provide patients with important health advice.  Pharmacists promote health not just by advising on the proper use of medicine but also by counseling patients in areas such as diet, sexual health, and reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Health spending is increasing at a rate far greater than other provincial government spending. As the population ages and the prevalence of chronic conditions increases the growth in new diagnoses for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis actually exceeds Ontario’s population growth. The increase in diagnoses of chronic conditions is a key driver of health spending growth in Ontario.

As front-line health care providers, Ontario pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help the Ontario government achieve its objectives to improve health outcomes and control costs in our healthcare system. By helping patients comply with treatment regimens, by providing counseling on lifestyle changes, by helping to reduce the complications associated with chronic conditions and by ensuring symptoms are properly managed, Ontario pharmacists can make a big difference in improving the health of Ontarians.

Patient health management is a health care intervention that allows patients to be more involved in managing their own health outcomes. By engaging in patient health management both public and private health insurers can commit healthcare resources to keep people well and to manage diseases and conditions in a manner that avoids the costly complications associated with chronic conditions. Effective patient health management programs contain health costs by reducing the need for other more costly health care interventions. It also helps the elderly maintain independence and keeps our aging population as healthy as possible through prevention, early detection, and proper management of symptoms.

Physicians know what needs to be done to provide appropriate care consistent with clinical practice guidelines, but often lack the tools, the resources, or the time to do it. Pharmacy-based patient health management addresses this issue with significant health care delivery advantages. Involving patients in their own health management increases the patient’s sense of ownership and control (patient centered care). Patients are able to remain healthy, active & productive members of society for longer through greater disease control. There is increased compliance and adherence to treatment and, with improved patient health outcomes health care costs are contained.

In many jurisdictions pharmacists are recognized as key members of primary care teams. In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health recently launched a program for pharmaceutical public health by publishing Choosing Health Through Pharmacy. The U.K Minister of Health describes this as “a commitment to publish a strategy for pharmaceutical public health in 2005 which will expand the contribution that pharmacists, their staff and the premises in which they work can make to improving health and reducing health inequalities.” In North Carolina, the City of Asheville took a proactive approach to contain its rapidly rising employee health costs by instituting a pharmacy-driven patient health management program that was so successful in improving health outcomes and containing costs that it is now being replicated in major cities across the country

Community pharmacists in Ontario are ready, willing and able to increase their involvement and contribution to public health in collaboration with government, physicians and other health professionals.   Pharmacist-based patient health management can achieve better health outcomes. The results are healthier patients, and more cost-effective use of precious health care resources.

- Marc Kealey
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In response to the growing concerns over the cross-border prescription drug trade, an event was hosted at the National Press Club where Dr. Marv Shepherd, an expert on the importation of drugs from the University of Texas, spoke to a Canadian audience about the negative impact of drug exports to the US.

We have been voicing concerns for the past two years about the detrimental impact of the spread of cross-border trade in prescription drugs, and more specifically drug re-importation into the United States via Internet pharmacies.

“Our message to the government of Canada is to move quickly to ban all export of prescription drugs, said Marc Kealey. “This will in effect eliminate the potential risk to the Canadian supply of prescription drugs, and as importantly, eliminate the potential risk on patient safety due to the unregulated internet pharmacy trade.”

Prescription drugs are a highly political issue in the U.S. because of their high prices and cases of Americans going across the border to Canada for treatment or to buy drugs have been growing.

One of the biggest problems associated with importation is people never know exactly where the drugs are coming from.  There is no guarantee that imported drugs are safe.  Just because there is a Canadian flag on the website, doesn’t mean that the source of the drug is from Canada.  Therein lies the problem for Americans – who may not be certain that the drugs they receive via Internet Pharmacy may be real.

A country with 33 million citizens should not be supplying the prescription needs of a country with 280 million,” said Kealey. “Raiding Canada’s medicine cabinet will not solve health care problems in the U.S.”

This has been the ongoing message that Marc Kealey has delivered to media and to stakeholders across the country and in several states in the United States, including Texas, Maine, Florida, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada and Vermont.

- Marc Kealey
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