WINNIPEG — Whether your child is running a fever or in need of a few stitches, sometimes getting to a hospital or to your family doctor can mean waiting hours or even days.
Now a new Winnipeg based business is offering patients the options of house calls, for a fee.
“People don’t like going to clinics. Elderly people with mobility issues, people with young children,” said nurse practitioner Kaitlyn Yurick. “There’s many patients , when they are sick, they don’t want to leave the house. When you’re unwell you usually don’t feel like going to a walk in clinic.”
Timely Care Clinic has been operating in Winnipeg for about a month and is already seeing a big influx in calls.
The team of four nurse practitioners offer services to treat issues from bladder, ear, and sinus infections to lacerations and infections.
“We can come to your house and do minor treatments such as suturing and ear flush outs for people,” Yurick said. “We can do your throat swabs, your wellness checks and for females, your gynecological exams.”
However, services are not covered under Manitoba Health. Timely Care Clinic offers a range of services at a cost and patients must pay out of pocket for everything.
House visits are usually $50, while “virtual visits,” which involve a 10-minute online video consultation, are $40, plus any extra fees associated with medical tests.
The company said the goal is to offer a complimentary service to what Manitobans are able to get through hospitals and clinics. It is not a replacement.
“Manitoba Health is cutting programs, not adding them,” Yurick said. “Waiting in urgent care for hours is not ideal.”
While the company and nurse practitioners are legally within their rights, not everyone agrees that the service is a good thing.
“We have a shortage of nurse practitioners in the our clinics,” Sandi Mowat from the Manitoba Nurses Union said. “The concern is if you pull from public to private, you lose services in the public (sector).”
The Manitoba Nurses Union said this creates a two-tier medical system where patients who can afford to pay for care are jumping the line.
However, the company said at a time of health care cuts in the province they are offering an option that many people want.