“A Revenue Stream” ??

In a recent post we outlined the ongoing tragic situation of an uninsured denied refugee claimant who has a bill for over $1500 for 2 visits to GTA  ERs.

$1500 is a lot of money – for most of us. It is an insurmountable sum of money for a refugee women in a shelter.

While recently reviewing some health data on the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), I was surprised to learn that in 2010 ( the most recent statistic year) the average cost for an ER visit in Ontario was $148.

Perhaps visits to GTA hospitals are higher? We have long wondered why uninsured refugee claimants and immigrants are asked for $500 up front to get ER treatment? We wonder why we have never heard of any of these patients having any of that money returned. Many have been asked to pay more during their visit.

How can it be that every uninsured new Canadian entering the ER has an illness worth the same $500 price tag? How can every ER in the GTA have the same operating costs?

When I worked in hospital administration, a senior VP once remarked that we could not lower the cost for uninsured care, or make it reflect the correct cost as hospital’s with deficits considered uninsured refugees and immigrants “a revenue stream, in the same category of high parking fees.”

I wonder what becomes of any of us who feel we have any right to make money off the backs of the poor and vulnerable when they are ill – off the back of a 30 year old refugee women in a shelter with a severe injury from domestic abuse.

An injury she left the ER with twice – untreated.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *