Quebecers increasingly heading to Ontario for medical treatment

Quebecers have been distancing themselves from local emergency rooms for the last few years.

The number of residents that have sought treatment and services in different provinces has been skyrocketing, according to findings of the Journal de Montreal.

They report that last year around 150,000 Quebecers saw a doctor elsewhere in Canada and over 130,000 spent the time in a hospital or emergency clinic outside of the province.

They also found that Quebec's health insurance board was billed more than $250 million last year for people opting for treatment in other provinces -- a 63% increase from ten years ago.

Pierre Hurteau of the MUHC patients rights committee said a lot of these people go to different provinces because they get their services faster.

This is true for one Lachute mother, Tina Chapman, who has chosen Hawkesbury hospital in Ontario over Lachute hospital a number of times.

This is because she's had bad experiences when she's dealt with her local hospital in the past, particularly when her son cut his hand open.

"I went to Lachute hospital," she said. "After 8 hours of waiting there, they told me that we weren't going to see a doctor until the morning. I was furious and fed up and left and went to Hawkesbury hospital and we were in and out in an hour."

Chapman said hospital officials have told her that more than half of their patients come from Quebec.

The same goes for Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria, Ontario, which is a 30-minute drive up the road from Hawkesbury.

The hospital's CFO, Lindsay Ramsay, said around 20 to 35 per cent of emergency room patients are from Quebec on a given day.

She said these Quebecers help contribute a "substantial" amount to their yearly budget.

Ramsay also found that these patients offer good feedback on their services.

"They're usually very shocked that they come and the waiting time was quick, they got to speak in French, in their language, and explain what their issue was, so they're very appreciative of the service," Ramsay said.