Canada Health Act ensures care is accessible, no matter where you live

 by Mary WIlson-Trider

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  The new year is an opportunity to look forward, but it is also a time to reflect on the past year and blessings we have received. One of the things I am thankful for is our Canadian health care system – and not just because it is where I’ve chosen to work.

The principles of the Canada Health Act –public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility– mean the services that are medically necessary to maintain health, prevent disease or diagnose and treat an injury, illness or disability are provided free of charge in Canada to insured residents, regardless of where in the country they live or work.

People who live in Mississippi Mills have the freedom to choose to come to Almonte General Hospital for care, or to go to another hospital.

If someone from our community needs advanced care or treatment at another hospital, such as the Ottawa Heart Institute, CHEO or Queensway Carleton Hospital, he or she can go there.

If another Ottawa Valley hospital seems like a better option, for any reason, a member of our community can go there.

It also means that people from other communities can choose to come here.

Every day in 2011, someone who lives in Mississippi Mills received care or treatment in an Emergency Department, inpatient bed or clinic at a hospital in another community. It likely that the same person from Mississippi Mills benefitted from a piece of equipment that was purchased with donations he or she didn’t make. There may well have been people in that other community who had to wait a bit longer for care because the Mississippi Mills resident’s needs were greater.

On every day in 2011, someone who doesn’t live in Mississippi Mills received care or treatment at Almonte General Hospital. We returned the favour – to people in all of the communities across the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, Ontario and Canada, whose local hospitals provided care to a resident of Mississippi Mills. In short, it’s a two-way street.

TheCanada Health Act is unique, and is something of which we are all proud.

 Mary Wilson Trider is the President and CEO of the Almonte General Hospital/Fairview Manor