Five of Toronto’s most exclusive private medical clinics
Private health care, once taboo, has become a status symbol for those who can afford it. From anti-aging to Alzheimer’s, here are five of the city’s most sought-after clinics
Rosedale Wellness Centre, 120 Bloor St. E., 1-877-933-3734
SPECIALTY: Founded in 2006, DeerFields caters to boomers who are terrified of both aging and Botox, as well as past-their-prime athletes who want to keep their performance edge. The team’s anti-aging treatment focuses on telomeres, the parts of our chromosomes that shorten as we age, and which many scientists believe operate as tiny molecular clocks. Super-short telomeres are linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
COST: $3,995 for a comprehensive exam and follow-ups. Medications and supplements are extra.
PERKS: Access to DeerFields’ Caledon-area treatment centre, guest inn and equestrian centre.
150 York St., 416-350-5900
SPECIALTY: Medcan is the behemoth of private clinics, with 60 doctors and specialists on staff who conduct five-hour-long assessments designed to catch lurking illnesses. This is health care for Type-As who expect same-day and Saturday appointments, and 24/7 phone care with Medcan nurses. Members receive discounts on fitness training, cosmetic dermatology and weight management.
COST: From $2,595 for a health assessment.
PERKS: The clinic includes an 8,000-square-foot gym (designed to attract elite athletes and corporate executives who want to look like athletes), valet parking, and complimentary gourmet coffee and snacks. As one client put it: “I don’t feel like I’m in a civil servant’s office. It’s like a nice hotel.”
1867 Yonge St., 416-642-9160
SPECIALTY: Healthcare 365’s mantra is preventative care. But unlike other private clinics, they won’t test for conditions for which patients have no symptoms, calling the practice “bad medicine.” Doctors are available round-the-clock, including weekends and holidays, and patients have electronic access to their medical records.
COST: $3,300 a year.
PERKS: Skype appointments and 24/7 service. One client, a 55-year-old Toronto lawyer, sent his HealthCare 365 doctor a photo of his grossly swollen and discoloured finger over the Victoria Day weekend, and she was able to diagnose it as a nasty spider bite, coach him through the proper first aid care and help him avoid a lengthy emergency room visit.
181 Bay St., 416-507-6600
SPECIALTY: Barack Obama once referred to the U.S.-based Cleveland as providing “some of the best health care in the world” and said the American health care system should run more like the clinic. The Toronto location trades on its counterpart’s reputation and expertise. OHIP-based services—available to non-members—include cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology and sports medicine. The top-tier program features a six-hour overall health assessment and diagnostic tests.
COST: Executive health plan from $3,150.
PERKS: The clinic has floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows with a view of Lake Ontario, and complimentary breakfast and lunch are served in a waiting room that also overlooks the lake.
333 Bay St. and 95 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-926-2698
SPECIALTY: Corporate execs with heavy travel schedules are big fans of Medisys, a Quebec-based company founded in 1987 that runs private medical clinics across the country. They provide executive health packages that include preventative health assessments, genetic testing, customized travel care and even office ergonomics consultations to some 4,000 companies that use it as a perk to attract top talent.
COST: From $1,500 for a health assessment and a year of ongoing care.
PERKS: The 24,000-square-foot Bay Street location has a wood-panelled locker room and showers for executives who want to return to work fresh after a marathon series of tests.
15 thoughts on “Five of Toronto’s most exclusive private medical clinics”
Healthcare 365 has the right idea at least.
The other private healthcare centers have the potential to be very dangerous, as they search for diseases in ways not justified by the medical evidence, subjecting patients to tests and procedures that may cause unnecessary physical and psychological harm. Remember, every test has a potential for false positives, and when used in non evidence-based ways, patients risk undergoing tests and procedures that aren’t indicated, that may themselves be harmful or lead to further potentially harmful interventions, not to mention the emotional stress involved in fishing for diseases.
If these centers are just offering fancy accommodations and vip comforts, fine, but when money gets involved in which tests are being done and how medicine is being practiced, there is some serious potential for harm.
I still find it amazing that a two-tier health care system is so strongly contested in Canadian society.
It’s almost as if some people think it’s a slippery slope to complete privatization.
The two-tier system already exists in Canada, except that it’s limited to the super-elite. Complete privatization would not only give all Canadians the choice in their healthcare but will stop Canadian money from travelling to the US or other countries for healthcare, which many Canadians are now doing
Wow that was a clean description about Toronto’s private medical clinics. But why doesn’t it describe about the clinic for hair transplant Toronto. I think hair transplantation is something which is demanded the most nowadays in Toronto.
I don’t understand the fear behind privatizing healthcare. Food and shelter, two of our most basic needs (probably even more important than healthcare), are already privatized. Yet, most people aren’t starving nor homeless.
Perhaps a two-tier system does already exist. You mentioned that complete privatization would give all Canadians the choice in their healthcare. Do you mean the choice between public and private? Doesn’t complete privatization imply the elimination of the public choice? If so, that leaves only one option which means no choice. Not only that, but I don’t see how private healthcare, currently limited to the super-elite as you’ve implied, would then be within the reach of the average person. Can you elaborate a bit more on you post?
Most people aren’t starving or homeless? Maybe most aren’t starving but plenty are homeless and many only barely have enough to eat. Nobody is without healthcare though.
There are lots of Canadians who cannot get timely health care. Access to a waiting list is not access to health care.
I don’t think you mean a totally private system but the option to get care at a quality that the government does not supply
I don’t think that there is any doubt that our health care system is imperfect. Certainly there is a system of triage in place to ensure, as much as is possible, that those in the most critical need get timely care while those whose condition is not dire will have to wait a bit longer. I don’t think that this is unfair. This is not just, as you say, access to a waiting list. It seems as though you’re implying that this is a waiting list to nowhere. This is obviously not true. I’ve been in the hospital for relatively minor issues and have had to wait for a couple of hours while people with more pressing circumstances went ahead of me. While some people may consider this an annoyance (and for some, an unacceptable one), this is the way it should be. Further, a close family member of mine was admitted for immediate care when he had an accident and was experiencing serious internal bleeding. No doubt when he arrived in emergency, others who had arrived earlier, but with noncritical issues, had to wait a bit longer while he went ahead of them.
I understand that these are simply anecdotal examples, and perhaps you can cite some extreme examples where the system broke down and failed someone catastrophically but this would not be the norm and anyway no system is perfect.
On the other hand, a two-tier system will impact different people in different ways. People who are well off and who can pay for private care will obviously get more immediate care (I don’t know that the quality would necessarily be better but wait times would definitely be shorter and probably the decor in the waiting room would be more pleasant). Those same people who can pay for and who consequently benefit from a private system will no longer have a stake in the public system and will demand that their tax dollars not be spent on public health care. After all, why would they want to continue to pay the same amount in tax for a system that they no longer use, and in addition incur a completely new health related expenditure. It would be more expensive for them. They wouldn’t do it. This will clearly degrade the quality of healthcare for those who cannot pay for private care since they would be confined to a public system suffering from chronic underfunding. I’m not saying that the system is optimally funded as it currently is but a two-tier system will certainly make it worse for those who have to use the new , degraded system.
At the end of the day, I think that the question of whether this system is better than that system is not the right question in this particular debate. Really, the question should be, does everyone deserve good quality health care or do only some people deserve it since a two-tier system leads to a severely degraded public tier at best, or to a completely private system at worst where people who can’t pay out of pocket or whose jobs don’t offer health insurance as a part of the compensation don’t get health care of any kind. Moreover, there’s always the possibility of abuse, vis a vis preexisting conditions and the denial of coverage even after a person has been paying premiums for some length of time, that is inherent to a system motivated by profit rather than patient are.
My opinion is that the focus should be on improving a good system, with admitted flaws, rather than moving towards a system that will be great for some and atrocious for others.
Actually, I prefer the public system to be the main system. I just don’t want it to be the only option.
The Canadian health care system is not a good system as you say. It is one of the worst in the developed world. The World Health Organization has rated Canada at about 30th in quality. The usual argument is that our system is better than the American system.We are better than the US system only because theirs is so bad. Compared to other developed countries we fare badly.
This is well explained in this article.
Here is a podcast of a radio discussion on the exact topic of Canada’s having one of the worst health care systems in the world.
Click on line with the vertical squiggles to move to different parts of the podcast. I think you will find it interesting, Brian
Hi gerrybuddy. Thanks for the article and sorry it took me a while to respond. The chart in the article does look kind of damning. The UK seems to be the best in nearly all categories. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not equipped to challenge the veracity of the chart so I guess I’ll have to take it at face value. I will say, however, that although the chart shows Canada to be 10th in a ranking of 11 developed countries in various healthcare categories, It doesn’t at all indicate what might be the cause of such a disparity. To take this data and then suggest that the cause of Canada’s poor showing is the lack of a two-tier system is pure speculation on the part of the author. There’s no justification presented in this chart, or the article for that matter, to make such a claim when any combination of things could be the cause. I’m sure that someone with more knowledge of health policy and the workings of the various systems presented could provide more detail than I can but to my thinking, chalking the differences up to the existence, or non-existence as the case may be, of a two-tier system is a highly oversimplified analysis of a complex issue. Furthermore, we should keep in mind that this is merely a ranking. To interpret this chart to mean that Canada’s system is terrible because it came in second last in a select group of eleven is reading too much into it. For example, we wouldn’t say that the olympic 100 metre sprinter that comes in second last is a slow runner; he’s still in an elite category of the worlds best sprinters. But in a ranking, someone has to come in last, even if they’re only a few tenths of a second behind. Only in the “Health Expenditures/Capita, 2011” category is there a solid indication of exactly how much better or worse Canada is compared to the others on the chart. I don’t intend to say that there’s no room for improvement however – clearly there is. And that is the only other thing, besides cost, that this chart demonstrates concretely. Canada is second last in a group of 11. We can do better.
Putting the chart aside, I would like to address what seems to be the author’s main argument. And I should preface my comments by saying that I’m not an economist, nor have I had very much formal exposure to economics theory so take it for what it’s worth.
The central thesis that the author seems to be advancing is that our healthcare system lags behind the systems of other developed countries mainly because it ignores the economic laws of supply and demand. Specifically he states that when the price of a good becomes $0 the demand becomes infinite. I won’t argue the validity of the law but I do take issue with his assertion that demand will be INFINITE. I would think that the “infinite” demand that he refers to, when price is $0, is only meant to explain the law theoretically but he seems to be suggesting that this is practically possible. This seems absurd to me. How about you? Again, I don’t claim to have a sophisticated understanding of economics and I would have only mentioned this point as a minor quibble except that he seems to be earnest in his belief that demand will reach to infinity. In any case, this point is central to his argument and so so I wanted to draw attention to it.
Another point I wanted to make, and maybe more importantly, is that I’m not convinced that the law of supply and demand applies to all goods in such a neat, uniform way. There are some goods, some of which are consumed in the provision of healthcare, that common sense tells me would not experience fluctuations in demand in response to price. For example, if, hypothetically, nobody in Canada broke a bone this month, it would hardly matter what the price of a cast was, demand would be zero. Admittedly there are some goods that would probably experience fluctuations in response to price. I would not be surprised if certain medical procedures such as plastic surgery experienced a surge in demand if it was free for everyone. No doubt it is free for some people who, for example, need reconstructive surgery after a disfiguring injury but this just demonstrates how demand is managed through other, non-market based mechanisms; namely the expert assessment of patient need by qualified doctors. In a nutshell, I think that using price mechanisms to manage demand is unwarranted since mechanisms are already in place to manage the demand for goods that may be consumed unnecessarily and further, as I’ve mentioned, other goods will not see any change in demand whatever the price may be. I suppose that if you start charging people for casts, at some price point you would notice a drop in “demand” but we should understand this drop in demand as the denial of a medically necessary procedure/product to an increasing number of people, whose need is not less, based on their lack of resources and not because they decide that they no longer want that particular good, as if it were a new pair of headphones or some other “nice to have” but unnecessary product. A person who suffers a broken femur will not look at the price of a cast and decide that they don’t really want one anymore.
I just listened to the podcast you recommended (I didn’t listen to all of the callers though). The hosts guest was the author of the article you posted the link to and the topic was the article in question so my above arguments apply here too. I’m not convinced by his supply and demand argument but nevertheless I would be interested to look into the systems of some of the other countries in the study to see how they differ from ours but in more detail. I’m not beyond being convinced, I just don’t find his argument very plausible or persuasive.
Sorry for the long post and thanks again for the links.
I agree with Andrew. With the horrendous wait times in publicly funded hospitals, one should have the choice to go private. If you can give up a few sunny vacations down south in favour of a private clinic, if you need it, then you should have the choice to pick your priorities. Health or suntan!
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