Healthcare: To Pay Or Not To Pay?

That is the question...or maybe it's just a matter of choice.

It's a fact that as Canadian citizens we enjoy the privilege of government funded heath care. In reality, Londoners are well aware of the shortcomings in the health care system. We have to deal with the long standing doctor shortage, the patient/doctor waiting lists and endure the crowded clinics, not to mention the long wait times for visits to specialists or surgery. We certainly know the second meaning of the word patient. Up to 30,000 Londoners do not have a family doctor. These patients seeking medical attention need to play "catch as catch can" in the system, relying mostly on drop-in clinics to pick up the slack. Londoners need to be made aware of a new hybrid of public/private health care available here in London. Medpoint Health Care Centre has recently opened it's doors in Galleria London.As soon as I entered the centre's reception area I realized this was not like any medical establishment I'd ever seen before. The Medpoint atmosphere is a far cry from the typical doctor's office, medical clinic or hospital setting. The health center is decorated with serene spa inspired decor and soothing jazz music plays to help the clients relax. President Alex Hanham mentions that "it's all designed to minimize the white coat syndrome". He jokes that his job is to keep the Perrier stocked.Medpoint offers both OHIP covered public service and private pay services. If you need OHIP covered service, there is a walk-in style clinic available where they offer physicals and more OHIP covered tests and services than the regular clinics.MedPoint also offers a Comprehensive Annual Health Assessment (CAHA)for a $400. fee. This executive style health assessment is available to individuals and businesses. It's geared at clients who aim to have a proactive approach to health. Hanham points out that knowledge is power .Another factor Hanham wants to stress is Medpoint's efficiency. He mentions that patients can become frustrated with the health care system, waiting times, travel, etc. In one appointment a client can get up to 80 tests, including vision, hearing, lung function, electrocardiogram, fitness and nutrition evaluations, just to name a few. As a Medpoint client, I was given my first opportunity to have a bone density screening test. During the follow up visit clients will receive a copy of their Medpoint CAHA Results Report. The physician will also give the client recommendations for risk factor management, lifestyle changes and medical treatment options where necessary.In essence, Medpoint offers a combination of screening, follow up, feedback, referrals and ongoing care. From a woman's perspective I appreciate that Dr. Sylvia Murchison is an expert in women's health issues and designed the CAHA to address female concerns. The MedPoint atmosphere was designed with comfort in mind and it worked to put me more at ease during my visit. I was impressed with the efficiency of the testing and the staff's professionalism. I would highly recommend Medpoint Health Care Centre if you want to take a proactive approach to your health or anyone looking for a family physician. Here's to your health!
Healthcare: To Pay Or Not To Pay was published in the September '07 issue of Real Women Magazine.

Holiday Gifts & Wishes

I don’t know about you but I find that wracking my brain to come up with ideas for gift giving during the holiday tends to take the joy out of the season. Who needs to add this chore to their to-do list? Not me. Real Women Magazine wanted to alleviate this stress for our readers and give you some gift giving ideas. We hit the streets to ask men and women what they wanted to receive for the holiday season. 71 women and 71 men were posed the question,

The answers fall into the categories below.

If your loved can relate to the Seinfeld show line, "serenity now!"mantra then vouchers for babysitting, daycare or house keeping services might be a welcome gift. If it’s more of a zen feeling you want to give then try yoga or meditation classes, a massage or go for the gusto and give the lucky person a spa retreat. Other ideas would be simple pleasures like house plants, a table top waterfall feature or a relaxing spa music C.D. You may want to consider arranging for a family portrait or planning a family reunion. Give the gift of warmth with a wool sweater or scarf. Other options could be an electric blanket or a magic bag for those cold winter nights. Books are always a good bet whether you go for a novel, self help, special interest or a coffee table book. If you have a favorite book then pass it along with an I owe you note to take the person to lunch. For the person who appreciates culture you may want to look into a pass to a local museum or art gallery. Think outside the gift box.

If the person of interest knows the song "take a little trip, take a little trip" then try a getaway package, a retreat and/or a hotel stay for a Niagara Falls winery tour, a Toronto hot spot or tourist event. If it’s too late for a year end holiday vacation then consider making plans for the March break. Local travel agents can point you in the right direction or you can get some last minute deals on-line. Make sure the time lines work for all people concerned and don’t underestimate the anticipation of planning for a vacation. A coffee table book or tourist brochures highlighting the destination can hold them over. Keep in mind that the local theater arts and music community put on plays and concerts for a short getaway from it all experience.

If the person responds to the title "gadget guru"then a visit to an electronics store is your best bet. If you know what the person really wants then go for it but otherwise sticking to a gift card is a better choice. Sometimes the best sales occur after Christmas. To get a hold of those hard to find items and maybe get a better deal try ordering from the on-line stores. When it comes to the newest and the latest it’s hard to keep up with the technology so on-line credit style cards for downloads and gadgets might come in handy. So much is available from movies, music, video games, computers, software to accessories.

If the phrase "turn over a new leaf" resonates with the person you have in mind then fitness classes, a club membership, workout gear and equipment might be high on their wish list. Keep the commitment level in mind and consider the buddy system for added encouragement and possible savings. Make sure the person has at least hinted about joining a gym and pick sports or classes you know they will enjoy. A word of warning here, gifts having anything to do with weight loss can and most likely be taken the wrong way so keep those ideas under your hat until New Years.

If the person appreciates the movie line "show me the money!"or they tend to be in the hard to shop for category then try a gift card to a big box store, tickets to a sports events, dinner vouchers, movie passes, lottery tickets or cash. Here’s a hint about giving cash as a gift; some people might be insulted but it’s your call.

If their gift needs to scream "bling, bling!" then consider jewelry made by local artisans to get unique, one of a kind or custom made pieces. Look for interesting vintage jewelry in auctions and antique stores; chunky and retro styled rings, pendants and necklaces are in this season. Monogrammed items like key chains and business card cases can add that special personal touch. Really this is a can’t miss category but when it comes to women’s rings here’s a hint; a woman’s ring size usually corresponds to her shoe size. Don’t quote me on this but at least it’s a good place to start.

The biggest tip I can recommend overall is to make a list of people, their interests and your gift ideas and take it with you when shopping or else everything, anything or nothing will look good! Might I suggest giving a great gift of a subscription to a wonderful magazine like say Real Woman Magazine! I want to thank the people who took the time out of their day to chat and also thank the spirited Ashley and Katie for their support. For added festive interest try reading the lists with the song ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’ running through your head. ( That tip is courtesy of my son Tyler ) Stupendous shopping and happy holidays all!

a man
to be fit
to have the family together
a puppy
a digital camera
peace and quiet
something big
health and happiness
good health
a trip to Mexico
gold earrings
a new car
a vacation
magazine subscription to Bon a Petite
can’t think of anything
nothing in particular
a family gathering
warm p.j.’s
a digital camera
anything with diamonds
a print for the office
piano lessons
time with family
good health
health and happiness
nothing at all
a trip to Cuba
gold earrings
nothing special
gift cards
a watch
a holiday vacation
peace and quiet
peace in the world
a blanket
a vacation anywhere
a trip to Mexico
pots and pans
a family portrait
a plasma t.v.
Christmas sucks
to win the lottery
theater tickets
Rick Mercer Report The Book
I need nothing
to win the lotto 649
a spa day
fuzzy socks
new coffee mugs
a travel voucher
a new coat
a vacation
a spa gift certificate
rest and relaxation
a trip to the Bahamas
a well son
a massage
anything gold
a new wedding band

a healthy, happy grandson
peace of mind
a trip
time with family
a trip to the British Virgin Islands
I don’t know
just something nice
no fights in the family
something from Future Shop
a vacation
a large plasma television
a new car
to get my mortgage paid off
a trip to Costa Rica
a Ferrari
a vacation
a trip to China
a new job
a fitness membership
new golf shoes
a restful holiday
to be with family
a DVD player
a trip
to spend time with family
a trip to Florida
a break from it all
a trip to Cuba
socks, seriously I need socks
nothing , I don’t celebrate
an ipod
an iphone
golf clubs
an amplifier
a robot vacuum
peace, love and quiet
a guitar and amp
PS3 and games
a motorcycle
a new computer
nothing really
some cash
black leather boots
a gas or electric scooter
an ipod
a bike
a watch
a trip to Europe
a digital camera
a Tiger Woods golf club
health and happiness for everyone
Canadian Tire money
a condensed work week
any power tool
weights and workout equipment
a partridge in a pear tree
time to relax and unwind
a gift card
tickets to a sports event
a mouse for my Mac
gas for my car