Patient Wait Times Cost Canada $15 Billion a Year

From CTV, January 15, 2008:

It cost Canada’s economy $14.8 billion in 2007 to have patients waiting longer than needed for medical procedures, estimates a new analysis commissioned for the Canadian Medical Association.

The analysis, conducted by The Centre for Spatial Economics, focused on just four key medical procedures:

  • Total joint replacement surgery,
  • Cataract surgery,
  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans

It found that having patients wait for these procedures cost federal and provincial government revenues a combined $4.4 billion in 2007.

The analysis focused on the costs of “excess waits” — that is: the cost of waiting for treatment beyond maximum recommended wait times as assessed by the Wait Time Alliance for Timely Access to Health Care.

The study found that “excess waits” rob the economy of workers — both the patients and their caregivers. They also lead to increased costs on the health care system, as patients need extra appointments, tests and medication. And they cost governments through disability pensions and welfare costs, as well as in lost tax revenue.

Read the rest.

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