Profits Before Patients? The Corporate Push into BC’s Primary Care System

A series of articles by the Tyee [Excerpts]
Click on the bold to access the articles.

Profits Before Patients? The Corporate Push into BC’s Primary Care System
Big business sees opportunity in replacing the family doctor with corporate clinics or virtual care. Advocates see peril. First in a series.

Andrew MacLeod 7 Sep 2020 | TheTyee.ca
Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of All Together Healthy (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018). Find him on Twitter or reach him at amacleod@thetyee.ca

Telus, a publicly traded Vancouver-based company worth $29 billion, was making inroads into health care before the COVID-19 pandemic began. It’s moving more heavily into primary care, traditionally provided by generalist family doctors who are patients’ first point of contact with the health-care system. They look after day-to-day concerns and also provide a co-ordinating role when people need ongoing care or to see a specialist.

Besides Babylon, which is available in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, Telus offers a similar service nationally called Akira that it promotes through employers.

Telus has bought clinics operating under the Copeman and Medisys brands, both of which operate in a “legal grey area,” charging patients annual fees in the thousands of dollars while still billing provincial health plans.