Thursday, October 27, 2005

Are Canadian physicians really going back?

With the introduction of the Canadian single-payer health care system, large numbers of physicians moved south in search of a different practice setting. A news item this week in the AMA News ( American Medical News,October 23/31/2005,)-now requiring a subscription-hints that now the pattern is being reversed. It is probably too early to conclude that but there are some data suggesting that Canadian docs are going back home after finishing training in the U.S. The AMA article is not all that convincing and is lacking in much hard data. Here are the facts they present: For the first time in the last 30 years more docs are leaving the U.S.for Canada than are coming in (202 out, 162 in),there is a growing shortage of physicians in Canada and the government is said to be attempting to upgrade facilities and in some provinces offer higher reimbursements and some other recruitment incentives. I suspect there is no great exodus in the making but the "M and M's" of medical practice discontent ( e.g. malpractice premiums and managed care) are making more than a few docs to leave practice and at least the malpractice premiums seem lower up north and perhaps the paperwork less onerous. DB's Medical Rants recently posted a typical sad situation of a not very old OB leaving practice because of the first "M" even though she had no history of law suits. Her story is not unique.

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