(Why) Americans could, should, do come to Toronto for medical and dental services
Health care insurances and politics aside, which make for good news headlines, are often not a consideration when it comes to seeking the best and most cost effective health care.
Quietly, for the past number of years Americans from primarily the border States - New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio - have been coming to Toronto for elective and cosmetic medical and dental procedures.
Why? Three reasons. The first seems to be computers and access to the Internet and the information that a web site(s) provides. Many people have learned, or are learning, that this powerful and increasingly popular source for information is an incomparable method for research. A well-done web site is educational and informative and causes a person to become knowledgeable and informed.
The second reason is money. Given the state of the weak Canadian dollar, $1.00 US is currently worth approximately $1.50 in Canada. Many medical and dental services and procedures are comparably priced in the United States and Canada, so that in Canadian funds a patient can anticipate saving anywhere from 30 - 50 percent.
And the third reason, which is the most qualified and beneficial reason, is the level of experience and expertise achieved by Physicians, clinics and hospitals in Toronto.
For example, The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry in Toronto is the only one of its' kind in North America, and the Shouldice Hospital, which performs only hernia procedures, is recognized worldwide for the procedure developed some 58 years ago, and at the Bochner Eye Institute, patients come from as far away as Texas and California as a result of the Canadian approved equipment utilized to perform laser eye surgery.
Toronto is recognized worldwide as a medical centre mecca for various disciplines, and teaching facilities. Many Doctors, medical researchers, Dentists and other health care specialists are frequently invited to lecture in the United States and around the world. The reputation of certain facilities and Physicians is such that American patients are often referred by their personal physicians for treatment in Toronto, and U.S. Doctors have been known themselves to come to Toronto for certain treatments.
As a result, hundreds of Americans come to Toronto annually for numerous medical and cosmetic services, which often results in satisfied patients referring friends and relatives for the same or similar procedures.
Following is a brief profile of some facilities in Toronto which have, and are, currently treating American patients:
The Institute of Cosmetic Surgery
Since commencing his practice in 1978, Dr. Lome Tarshis has become one of the most respected and popular cosmetic surgeons in the city. Trained in Toronto, and Beverly Hills at Cedars Sinai Hospital, Dr. Tarshis has had additional training and worked with some of the most renowned plastic surgeons in the US, Brazil, Italy and France. It is important to note that Dr. Tarshis is a Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Tarshis has become a recognized authority in his field and attends national and international symposia, either to lecture or participate in a professional exchange of information.
Dr. Tarshis has performed various procedures for over 500 American patients, one of the most recent having travelled from Missouri to Toronto. In addition to the Doctors' skills and expertise the cost of having procedures performed in Toronto, in Canadian funds, justifies the travel expenses.
An indication of how well some people research a cosmetic surgical procedure is how often The Institutes web site is accessed - 200 times a day and from across the U.S. and as far away as England. The Institute receives 5 -10 qualified email inquires everyday.
Several new patients are referred to The Institute by former patients, some who have returned for second and third procedures. Contact The Institute of Cosmetic Surgery at 1 888 926-8122 or (416)
926-8122. The web site address is www.cosmeticscanada.com
This hospital, having gained a worldwide reputation for the technique of repairing hernias, (the method having been developed some 50 years ago), has treated 400 - 500 American patients a year! and many more that come from around the world. Such is the experience of the medical staff and the highly developed skills and procedure that this method of hernia repair has come to be known as "the Shouldice technique"
In fact, one of every seventy patients is a medical doctor, and of the thousands of patients treated at Shouldice every year, 57% are referred by former patients. The internet being the source of information it has become, an astounding 11% of patients come to Shouldice as a result of the comprehensive website: www.shouldice.com.
The Hospital has prepared a comprehensive and informative VHS video which a potential patient can request.
Most U.S. managed care plans such as Aetna/U.S. Health Care, Multiplan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, will cover the cost of the procedure, which is approximately $2200.00 US, and for patients that qualify Shouldice Hospital offers a $300.00 Cdn. travel allowance. The same procedure in the United States is approximately $4500.00 US for outpatient care. Included in the fee at Shouldice is 72 hours post op care, again specifically developed for hernia patients.
It is important to note that surgeons at Shouldice are U.S. Board certified.
Statistically, the repair and failure results in Great Britain are as high as 30%, in the United States 10 - 15% and at Shouldice over the last fifty years, the rate is less than 1%.
Shouldice Hospital is so well respected and appreciated by patients for facilities provided and especially the caring staff that a patient reunion is held annually at the Royal York Hotel where some 1500 previous patients attend - and some have attended every year for the last fifty two years!
For information you can contact the Hospital at 1 800 291-7750 or (905) 889-1125, or see the website: www.shouldice.com
The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry
This is not your typical Dentists' office.
This is a studio designed specifically for cosmetic dentistry; in fact the only one of its' kind in North America. The Studio is operated by Dr. Edward Philips who is also the Course Director for Cosmetic Dentistry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Philips also lectures in Canada and the United States and is an information resource for several radio and print media.
This ultra-modern, very state- of-the-art studio literally makes clients smile.. better. The purpose, and function of the studio, is to correct and improve a persons' smile by performing any number of procedures such as bonding, capping, crowning, teeth restoration and onlays.
No appointment is necessary to stop in. In fact, the Studio encourages potential clients to visit and spend some time at a nine-screen information centre which is informative and educational. Or visit the Studios' website which has become a popular source for information.
In the last year Dr. Philips has seen more than 50 patients from the United States, most being from the Buffalo/Cleveland/Detroit areas, and even a patient from New York City. Several patients are referred by Toronto cosmetic surgeons, or are referred by their U.S. Physicians.
An impressive fact is that Dr. Philips sees only two patients each day, which means that a patient has the Doctors' undivided attention.
Costs of course vary, depending on the procedures required, but as rates are often higher for similar procedures in the United States, and considering the very favourable exchange rates, it is estimated that a patient can save 40 - 60% less. An average cosmetic smile improvement costs approximately $5000.00 Cdn.
The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry is located at University and College and can be contacted at 1 888 764-5354 or (416) 597 6453 . The website address is: www.cosmeticdentistryto.com
Bochner Eye Institute
Laser eye surgery seems to be growing in popularity and the laser technology being developed and in use in Canada today is distinctly different from the first or second generation of lasers used in the U.S. The Canadian government has approved for use advanced laser technology equipment and procedures that the FDA has not as yet certified.
The Bochner Eye Institute uses the Nidek 5000 laser, developed in Japan, and as a result of performing this procedure since 1991, is now seeing 100- 150 American patients annually.
Many patients are referred by their eye care doctors or even their physicians, and have come from as far as Texas and California, (you may recognize some names) although most patients coming from the U.S. are from the border States.
The procedure takes a few hours and usually by the next day the recovery period is over. Follow up care is provided by the patients own eye care doctor.
The procedure in Canada costs approximately 30 - 40% less as a result of the advantageous exchange rate.
The Bochner Eye Institute can be contacted at 1 800 665-1987 or (416) 960-2020. The website is www.bochner.com