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New company offers alternative to Ontarians waiting for non-emergent procedures

Ontarians fed up with waiting for non-essential medical procedures may opt to pay the price and seek care across the border.

In recognizing the need, a new company based in Sarnia and Windsor has launched to provide private health care options.

Outpatient Ontario Vice President of Communications Martin Vrolyk said the COVID-19 pandemic has further delayed medical procedures and has created even longer wait periods. Outpatient Ontario is offering to match patients with medical centres and doctors throughout Michigan for surgery and diagnostic scan needs.

"Mark [Stoyanovich, vice president of client care] works in the medical field in Michigan so he is familiar with that side of it and has connections to places there where we can get people in and get them looked after much sooner than waiting for such a long time here in Ontario," said Vrolyk.

As an example, Vrolyk said someone in need of a hernia repair could schedule a consultation, receive a quote, and have an appointment booked within two to three weeks.

Having a medical procedure done in the U.S. does come at a cost. However, Vrolyk said private health care may not be as pricey as people assume.

"You hear the horror stories about spending tens of thousands of dollars for emergency care, this is different. This is planned, this is scheduled and this is also highly rated -- top rated doctors and surgical centres that we're connecting people with," said Vrolyk.

"The feedback we were getting is that it is worth it to pay a cost up front to save months and months of living with a condition or not being able to get it resolved sooner."

Vrolyk provided another example, stating an MRI appointment in Michigan could be made within a week and depending on the MRI, it could cost $500 USD.

For now, Outpatient Ontario is responsible for connecting patients with care in Michigan and booking appointments, but the goal is to eventually expand services to include transportation and overnight arrangements.

Earlier this year, figures released by the Financial Accountability Office estimated it could take more than three years to clear the backlog of over 400,000 surgeries delayed by COVID-19.

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