Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Private Regina surgical clinic now booking dental and knee surgeries

Private Regina surgical clinic now booking dental and knee surgeries

Of course, the ideological opponents to any form of private health service provision believe that this is the sign of the Beast, and that this will lead to privatization, but I have a really good question for those people:

If the public is still footing the bill for the whole amount, what's the difference?

One of the things that caught my eye when I was reading about the opening of this private surgical clinic is this:

So far, the surgical initiative appears it will result in lower per-procedure costs for the health region.

Knee surgeries at Omni run approximately $1,500 each, representing a savings of $179, or 11 per cent, from the in-hospital cost. Dental surgeries cost $965, $76 less than at a hospital.

What caught my eye? The fact that it costs LESS to the provincial treasury to have a private service provider do the surgery than it costs in the health region's hospital.

Why does it cost less, you might ask? It's because a private clinic has a self-interest in reducing costs and minimizing overhead. There are no layers of bureaucracy, there is no promotion of the incompetent. The owners of the clinic have a direct interest in the clinic succeeding through controlled costs and working more efficiently, and the only constraint the owners have when determining how much money to invest is what their return on investment will be - a concept that public health care providers never have to be concerned with.

In the end, the only reason why private clinics might be considered a bad thing is because it would reduce the massive government health bureaucracy to one simple process - receive requests for payment and write cheques. One can only hope it gets that far.

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