Monetizing healthcare may seem contrary to the values that underly the
Canadian healthcare system; however with critical analysis there are many reasons why it is
ethically substantiated and consistent with the primary goal of our healthcare system – to
provide the best healthcare to Canadians in a timely and accessible manner.
Our healthcare system in Canada, broadly speaking, almost always runs at or near capacity.
In the recent climate we have been over capacity in some areas causing significant backlog and suboptimal
wait times. It is reported that 13,000 patients have died on waiting lists.
There is a plethora of evidence that demonstrates the harm of waiting for services,
even when elective or non-emergent. The goal is not to displace any patient waiting for
Rather, the patient is seeking access to surgery during hours when the OR would not be in
use. Consequently this does not create displacement of current patients, nor cause harm to
others or the system.
Ethically speaking we must always consider the harms and benefits of any decision.
Additionally, being in Canada we must consider the ramifications to our publicly funded healthcare system.
If on balance, the greater good is served, a decision is ethically justifiable.
There are three main benefits of taking on a private pay case funded by an insurance company:
1. Benefit to the individual patient by facilitating timely access and
preventing harms associated with waiting and at the same time not displacing any patients in the que.
2. Reducing the wait for others by removing a potential patient in the que, thereby allowing others to access their care earlier.
3. Generating funds that can help many more patients and be reinvested into the hospital.
On balance utility is served, and by serving one patient, the hospital can benefit many patients.