Orthopedic Medical Wait Times in Canada: A Growing Concern

Orthopedic medical wait times in Canada have become a significant concern for patients and healthcare professionals alike. The prolonged wait times for orthopedic procedures have a detrimental impact on patients’ quality of life and overall well-being. This blog aims to highlight the latest orthopedic wait times reported by the Fraser Institute

Understanding Orthopedic Medical Wait Times

Orthopedic medical wait times refer to the length of time patients have to wait for orthopedic procedures, such as joint replacements. These wait times are measured from the moment a patient is referred to a specialist to the actual date of the procedure. It is broken down into two components: the wait time to see a specialist and the wait time from seeing a specialist to actual surgery. In Canada, these wait times have been steadily increasing over the years, leading to concerns about the accessibility and efficiency of orthopedic care.

2023 Report

According to the Fraser Institute’s yearly publication on medical wait times, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2023 Report median wait time from GP referral to see a specialist in orthopedics in 2023 was 15.4 weeks. In 2022 it was 16 weeks. The median wait time between an appointment with a specialist and treatment in orthopedics in 2023 was 28.9 weeks. In 2022 it was 32.4 weeks. Total wait time in 2022 was 48.4 weeks, and in 2023 it was shorter at 44.3 weeks, an improvement of almost 4 weeks. Most of the time improvements came from the specialist to surgery wait time segment.

It also is worth noting that the Pan-American Benchmark wait time for a hip or knee replacement is 26 weeks, thus the national wait of 44.3 weeks is still way outside this standard.

Regional Differences

It must be noted that orthopedic wait times vary widely depending on the province you live in. Generally speaking, the Maritimes have the longest wait times, and Ontario has the shortest. Looking at 2023 data the report states that the median total expected waiting time from referral by GP to treatment in Orthopedics was the highest in Saskatchewan at 84.1 weeks, followed by New Brunswick at 75.1 weeks and the lowest in Ontario at 29 weeks followed by 39.8 by Quebec. The difference between the national 44.3 weeks to the highest is almost twice!

Should You Consider Private Orthopedic Surgery?

It is clear that some improvements are being made and the total wait time for orthopedic surgeries went down by 4 weeks. However, it is still far from the benchmark of 26 weeks. Many provincial governments are struggling to find more money into healthcare and federal help is being given for provincial healthcare. However, a big chunk of that money is allocated to mental health, an issue in itself and not subject to this blog.

What can be done? There are private options for orthopedic surgery. According to the Fraser Institute, “this year’s survey of specialists also found that an estimated 1.8% of patients received elective treatment in another country during 2022/23. Physicians also report that only about 13.7% of their patients are on a waiting list because they requested a delay or postponement, and that 47.1% would agree to have their procedure performed within a week if an opening arose. Thus, despite provincial strategies to reduce wait times and high levels of expenditure on health care, it is clear that patients in Canada are waiting too long to receive treatment.”

If you are considering a private orthopedic surgery we are here to help and guide you through private joint replacement options in Canada and the US, the paperwork, pre-op testing, travel and post-op recovery. You can reach us by email info@healthvantis.com or toll-free at 877 344 3544 to see if a private joint replacement is for you.

How Much Does Private Joint Replacement Cost in Canada?

How Much Does Private Joint Replacement Cost in Canada?

Joint replacement surgeries are common procedures sought by individuals in Canada to alleviate chronic joint pain and improve mobility. While the public healthcare system in Canada covers joint replacement surgeries, some individuals may choose private healthcare options for various reasons, such as shorter wait times and ability to get back to work sooner.

Understanding Private Healthcare Options

In Canada, private healthcare options are available for those who prefer expedited access to healthcare services. Private clinics and hospitals offer a range of benefits, including quicker consultations, reduced wait times for surgeries, and personalized care tailored to the individual’s needs.

Factors Affecting the Cost

Several factors contribute to the overall cost of a private joint replacement surgery in Canada:

1. Type of Joint Replacement – The type of joint being replaced (hip, knee, shoulder, etc.) is a major factor that influences the cost. Each procedure requires specific surgical techniques, medical devices, and materials, which can vary in price.

2. Hospital or Clinic Charges

Private clinics and hospitals have their own fee structures, which can vary significantly. Charges typically include operating room fees, overnight stays, medical supplies, and nursing care.

3. Surgeon’s Fees – Surgeon fees can vary depending on their experience, qualifications, and geographical location.

4. Anesthesia and Medications – The cost of anesthesia administration, medication, and pain management before, during, and after the surgery is an essential aspect of the overall cost. The specific requirements for anesthesia and medications can vary based on individual needs.

5. Pre and Post-operative Care – Diagnostic tests, consultations, physiotherapy sessions, post-operative medications, and follow-up appointments are key components of the overall cost. The number of post-operative treatments, such as physiotherapy, may vary.

Estimated Costs

Health Vantis works with facilities that offer bundled pricing for pay out of pocket patients.  This means that the cost is all inclusive of the surgeon’s fee, hospital/facility fee and anesthesia fee.  It does not cover medications required, which are normally nominal, or post-op physiotherapy after you return home.  Physiotherapy is normally covered if you have a private policy.

Hip and knee replacement can range from $23,500 to $28,000.  The cost in Canada is comparable to the cost in the US.  The only difference is the exchange rate from CAD to USD, which can add up if it is done in the US.  The US locations, however, do a minimally invasive technique so you can go back to your hotel the same day.  Most of the Canadian facilities keep you for a couple of days in-patient.

It’s important to note that if you are a Canadian resident, your provincial healthcare coverage will typically cover joint replacement surgeries performed in public hospitals. However, private healthcare costs are not typically covered by provincial healthcare plans.

Private joint replacement surgeries offer individuals the choice of personalized care and shorter wait times. To find out more information about what it might cost you for a private hip replacement or private knee replacement, please contact Health Vantis at 877-344-3544 or info@healthvantis.com.

Private Hip Replacement Surgery in NYC

Private surgery in Canada and the US can be expensive, especially if you don’t know where and how to look. Health Vantis has a prime location for Canadians looking to arrange private hip replacement surgery.  That location is in New York City.  Who doesn’t like to travel to the Big Apple?   This location has several direct flights coming from Canada to 3 different airports in the surrounding areas so logistically, there is not a better place to travel.  

The bonus to this facility is that the pricing is very competitive, in some cases, much more affordable than other locations we can offer.  The surgeons are top notch in their specialty and you are able to review their credentials and pick which one you’d like to have your surgery with. 

Health Vantis manages your case from start to finish.  We will get your consultation arranged, transfer the medical records, assist with pre and post-op requirements, book your travel and accommodations, prepare border letters and also handle the airline fit to travel guidelines with handicap assistance for your trip home.

A total hip replacement in NYC costs $18,700 USD.  Pricing is all-inclusive with surgeon fee, anesthesia fee, facility fee and Health Vantis’ fee for managing your case.

A recent x-ray of your hip needs to be done within the past 6 months.  For more information about how Health Vantis can assist you in booking your private hip replacement surgery at this location or elsewhere, please reach out to us at 877-344-3544 or info@healthvantis.com.

Private Knee Replacement in NYC

Private surgery in Canada and the US can be expensive, especially if you don’t know where and how to look. Health Vantis has a prime location for Canadians looking to arrange private knee replacement surgery.  That location is in New York City.  Who doesn’t like to travel to the Big Apple?   This location has several direct flights coming from Canada to 3 different airports in the surrounding areas so logistically, there is not a better place to travel.  

The bonus to this facility is that the pricing is very competitive, in some cases, much more affordable than other locations we can offer.  The surgeons are top notch in their specialty and you are able to review their credentials and pick which one you’d like to have your surgery with. 

Health Vantis manages your private knee replacement details from start to finish.  We will get your consultation arranged, transfer the medical records, assist with pre and post-op requirements, book your travel and accommodations, prepare border letters and also handle the airline fit to travel guidelines with handicap assistance for your trip home.

A total knee replacement in NYC costs $18,700 USD.  Pricing is all-inclusive with surgeon fee, anesthesia fee, facility fee and Health Vantis’ fee for managing your case.

A recent x-ray of your knee needs to be done within the past 6 months.  For more information about how Health Vantis can assist you in booking your private hip replacement surgery at this location or elsewhere, please reach out to us at 877-344-3544 or info@healthvantis.com.

Myths About Private Joint Replacements

Being Too Old or Too Young

Osteoarthritis can start at an early age, and being in increasing pain is rarely the answer to treating it. Lifestyle changes to accommodate chronic pain will lead to less activity and other health issues possibly arising. If you have difficulty walking or enjoying other normal daily activities, it is time to see a doctor and get an X-ray done. Newer materials make implants more dependable and long-lasting, thus providing younger people with a longer time to go without any revisions down the road. Many people who undergo a joint replacement return to their enjoyable life within 1-3 months, depending on the person and their health prior to surgery.

My Pain is Mild I Can Wait to See a Doctor

Some people are hesitant to see a doctor if their pain is mild. However, mild can be a relative term. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease and there is no cure. It will progress and you will experience more pain. Seeing your doctor when the pain is mild can start the process. Your family physician can order an X-ray, prescribe non-surgical treatment to relieve the pain, and refer you to see an orthopedic surgeon. This process takes time. Anecdotal evidence from some of our clients is such that at some point the pain becomes much worse and it happens pretty fast. Having a conversation with your family doctor about your options early is always a good idea.

I Have to Stay in the Hospital for Joint Replacement Surgery

In the past joint replacement were done in a hospital setting. A number of days were spent in the hospital recovering. While hospital setting may seem safer to some, the truth is that staying in the hospital is not necessary and it is much safer to go to an outpatient facility.

Most people qualify for a safe day surgery when they are looking for a private hip or knee replacement. Day surgical centers are common now. Patients check in very early, have their surgery first thing in the morning, and go to a hotel or home to recover in the afternoon. Usually, physiotherapy starts the same day, after the patient wakes up from anesthesia and goes to a recovery room. There are fewer chances of an infection, as day surgical centers tend to have very low infection rates compared to hospitals.

If you are curious about private surgery and would like to discuss your options at home or in the US we are here to help. Contact Health Vantis toll-free 877 344 3544 or by email info@healthvantis.com

Private Knee Replacement Surgery Cost

Private knee replacement in Canada and the USA

With the medical wait times becoming longer and longer, some Canadians choose to seek private surgery. The wait in Canada can be up to 2 years, however, if you are able to go private, we can usually assist you to get your private knee replacement surgery in 3-8 weeks, depending on your particular situation. Usually, if you had a recent X-ray (within the last 6 months) and have your medical records such as radiology report and imaging, it takes less time. If we have to obtain your records, it takes longer, as provinces have up to 30 days to provide us with your medical records after a consent form has been signed and sent in.

How much does it cost?

In general, a knee replacement is about $28,000, in Canadian or US dollars. Of course, because the Canadian dollar is not doing so well right now, the US option becomes more expensive. However, when choosing where to go, you should consider not only the cost but the expertise and reputation of a particular private clinic and surgeon.

Other factors to consider

When it comes to expertise, we usually provide people with a number of surgeries a particular surgeon does a year. Expertise comes with experience, and the more of it is done, the better expert a doctor is, in general terms. Another factor we always point out to our clients is the level of client care and therefore satisfaction that a surgeon and his staff provide. Some of the facilities we work with in the US go way above and beyond – they are available to answer all your questions pretty much at any time, are willing to make a hotel visit if needed after the surgery, and provide help and guidance later during the recovery process.

Private options and medical concierge service

Traveling for medical reasons can be complicated. Health Vantis provides full medical concierge service and case management from the first phone call until the return home for recovery. Our clients select where they go and we take care of all the details and logistics. If you are looking for a private knee replacement and are curious about our service, please give us a call toll-free 877 344 2544 or email us at info@healthvantis.com

 

Preparing for a Private Hip Replacement? 4 Top Things to Do

If you were told that a hip replacement is in your future, you may be thinking of how to prepare. Those that spend some time to think through preparations and carry out tasks in advance will have a smoother and faster recovery. Some things you may need help with are moving around your home and getting some things done.

Put a support system in place prior to your surgery

Reach out to your friends and family and tell them about your upcoming surgery and what you need help with when you get back home. Make a list of things that you will be unable to do for the first few weeks, such as driving and getting groceries and such. Ideally, you should have one person as a designated communicator to the rest of your support group. This person will provide updates about your recovery and ask for additional help if needed. For all private hip replacements, this person is also your travel companion and will come with you to pick you up from the medical facility, bring you back to the hotel room for recovery and keep an eye on you for the next 24-48 hours in case of any complications.

Rent or purchase all the needed equipment for your recovery prior to your going for surgery

Your doctor or your medical facilitator should be able to give you a list of things to have. Some of them you can rent at a local drug store or Red Cross, and some of them need to be purchased. Here is the list we give to our clients.

  • Cooling machine (cold therapy) if possible
  • Ice pack if the cooling machine is not an option
  • Walker or crutches or both
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Bed assistance rail
  • Bath transfer bench
  • Reacher/grabber with pincher claws
  • Long handle shoe horn and bath sponge

Prepare your home for your arrival before you leave

Get your home de-cluttered and ensure that you have ample walking space. If you have rugs in the hallways remove them till you have recovered. Those can be a hazard to your walking while you are recovering. Stock up on easily prepared foods, such as frozen meals and canned food.

Arrange your physiotherapy sessions with a qualified specialist

Physio is a must when you are in recovery after your private hip replacement. It will start the same day as your surgery when you are feeling better and have woken up after anesthesia. Ideally, it should continue every day for 3-5 days and then your therapist can re-evaluate to see if you are getting the exercises and are able to do them on your own. Then your physiotherapy sessions can take place once or twice a week. Remember that doing exercises after surgery is essential to a successful recovery as exercise strengthens your muscles and gets your hip moving.

If you need assistance planning your medical travel, Health Vantis can help. Contact us toll-free at 877 344 3544 or info@healthvantis.com and we would be happy to assist.

Preparing For a Private Knee Replacement: Dos and Don’ts

If you were told that a knee replacement is going to happen in the near future, you may be thinking of the best way to prepare yourself, your loved ones, and your home for what is coming after the surgery. Some things can be done in advance and they improve your chances of better outcomes and recovery. Planning early will also help lower your stress level which in turn helps you manage your recovery.

DOs

Pre-hab exercises

We can not say enough about this one. In simple words, the more in shape you are prior to surgery the better off you are after. We also understand that reduced mobility will limit your ways of getting in shape before surgery, but do not just sit there. If you are able to afford a physiotherapist to guide you search YouTube for knee surgery pre-hab exercises and you will find some great ones to do at home.

Quit smoking

Smoking is harmful to your health overall, and specifically increases the risk of heart attack, DVT, and stroke, and will hinder recovery. It decreases the blood flow and thus slows the healing process as well as makes you vulnerable to infection and circulatory problems.

Prepare home for your recovery

You will be home after 5-7 days (travel and recovery at the location of surgery) and you will not be able to drive for about 6 weeks. If you live by yourself, ensure that you cleared your home prior to your departure. We usually advise people to have everything set up on one level of their home so that they do not have to climb stairs. Rent a cooling machine or have ice packs in your freezer, as well as prepared frozen meals to make it easier on yourself.

DON’Ts

Do not have another cortisone injection

Surgeons advise against having a cortisone injection within the 3 months of private knee replacement surgery. Research shows that there is an increased risk of infection if a cortisone shot was done within the 3 months prior to surgery. Talk to your doctor or medical facilitator about this one if you recently had a cortisone shot.

Do not disregard pre-op instructions given to you by the doctor or nurse

You will be given specific pre-op instructions and we advise all of our clients to follow them precisely. If something is not followed, such as having a meal before your surgery or continuing to take certain medications, your surgery will be rescheduled for a different day.

Do not hesitate to ask for help

Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure, but knowing you have support can mean a much easier recovery. Do not wait or hesitate to ask for help. Reach out to your friends, family members, and neighbors and be specific as to what you will need, be it taking care of your groceries or simply wanting company for a couple of hours a day while you can not drive. Most people will be happy to help if they know what is asked of them. If you are completely by yourself and are able to hire a companion, google seniors’ companion services in your area and see if this is something you would want to consider.

If you need assistance planning your medical travel, Health Vantis can help. Contact us toll-free 877 344 3544 or info@healthvantis.com and we would be happy to assist.

Traveling For Private Joint Replacement: Top 3 Considerations

So, you chose to travel to get your private hip or knee replacement. Now let’s get to planning to ensure your travel is as comfortable as it can be and as smooth as you are able to make it for yourself. Nowadays with all the travel interruptions and staff shortages, chances are you will experience some setbacks such as delays or cancellations. However, you should still be able to prepare yourself for this so that you do not miss your surgery or a pre-op consultation.

Plan to arrive 24 to 48 hours prior to your pre-op consultation

This one used to be not such a big deal, but in the past year or so, we have seen travel delays and cancellations, rescheduling our clients’ flights to the next day. We, therefore, advise booking a flight to arrive at the city of your surgery 24 to 48 hours prior to your pre-op appointment. This way if your flight gets delayed or rescheduled for the next day you will not be stressed out about your appointment.

Avoid leaving too soon

Your surgeon will be able to tell you when you can go home. This is the question to ask during your phone consultation with a doctor before you do all the planning. If you are not feeling well after the surgery, allow yourself to stay an extra day or two. When purchasing your airline tickets go for the fully refundable fare so that you can make changes to your flight without incurring major costs.

Make your trip as comfortable as you can

Pack essentials in your carry-on, such as your medications, blankets, pillows, reading materials, and snacks. On your flight back, choose your seat with as much legroom as your money can afford. Select an aisle seat so that you can get up and move a little bit. Flights over 4h have an increased risk of DVTs, so moving around is essential. It is also wise to have anti-nausea medication with you as many people experience motion sickness especially after being under anesthesia.

If you need assistance planning your medical travel, Health Vantis can help. Contact us toll-free at 877 344 3544 or info@healthvantis.com and we would be happy to assist.

Risks of Waiting for Your Hip Replacement

Risks of Waiting for Your Hip Replacement

Wait times have went up drastically over the years for hip replacements.  This has left thousands of Canadians at sea on their own as they wait to get a surgery date. This can create major consequences if you experience long delays.  Let’s look at some reasons how waiting can make things worse:

  1. Mental health

    – Let’s face it, winter months in Canada can be long.  Seasonal affect disorder (SAD) is a real thing and very well known to many.  If you have an ailment that causes stress or continued pain, it can create and/or exacerbate SAD making you have low energy, poor mood and cause you to sleep too much.  Worse yet, it can turn into a full blown depression. Feeling discouraged, hopeless or in constant pain affects your focus, ability to function and can hamper your social interactions with people.  Not being able to play with your children or grandchildren, staying home from parties, or not being able to work can all create more stress on your mental health. When your mental health decreases, your whole body reacts to the stress.  This can make your pain unbearable, therefore, too difficult to maintain a healthy physical health.

  2. Physical health

    – Regular exercise is important to maintain strong bones, muscle strength, better sleep and more energy. It improves your mood and overall good health.  Obesity can put limitations on whether or not they can do surgery on you.  It’s a double edge sword.  You are in so much pain that you cannot do regular exercise, therefore, you put weight on.  However, if your BMI is too high, you may not qualify for private hip surgery.  As your weight increases into an unhealthy range, you could also develop high blood pressure or diabetes, which further complicates a surgery.  If you are not mobile due to excessive pain, there are still ways to get exercise in without exacerbating your issue or creating more pain.  For instance, if it is too painful to walk due to your hip, try swimming or doing sitting exercises with light weights.  *Always talk to your doctor or physiotherapist first though on what is the safest for you.  If you keep your physical fitness up, your recovery will go much smoother and quicker.  If you are not physically fit, be prepared for a much longer road to recovery.

  3. More risk to further injury

    – Waiting a couple months to have an already known injury that needs surgery is probably not going to hamper your situation in the grand scheme of things.  Having to wait several months, a year, and in some cases 2 years, can.  As we indicated above, physical health is crucial to having a safe and successful surgery.  The longer you wait, the harder it is to exercise to your full potential.  Inactivity will lead to muscle loss and increased stiffness to your joint.  This in turn will make it harder and harder to walk putting more stress on the joint by not having the muscles surrounding it to support things.  This can create even more issues such as making a joint deformity worse or cause injuries to other joints and/or body parts as they over compensate for the weight you can no longer support.

Like most things, this is not an end all.  You do have options.  The quickest way to get your hip surgery is to go the private manner.  Health Vantis works with many facilities that can offer you a private hip replacement without waiting months on end to get a surgery date that might be even another year down the road.  Contact us at info@healthvantis.com or 877-344-3544 for more details to how we can help you.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com