Vancouver, British Columbia — The Canadian province of Ontario will fund 10 times as many bariatric surgeries per capita as will British Columbia, according to a report in The Vancouver (British Columbia) Sun.
This means the waiting time for morbidly obese people in British Columbia to get bariatric surgery will be much longer than for those in Ontario. Ontario has committed $75 million to boost its bariatric surgery to nearly 1,700 procedures in four hospitals, while the number of bariatric procedures funded by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) has decreased from 124 in 2008 to 52 for 2010-2011. According to The Sun, weight-loss surgery was curtailed to help balance the VIHA’s overall surgery budget.
Even the province of Alberta, with a significantly smaller population than British Columbia, will fund more weight-loss surgeries this year — about five times more than British Columbia Alberta also covers surgery to remove excess skin following weight loss. British Columbia covers such procedures only in cases where infection has developed.
In 2008-2009, Ontario sent nearly 1,660 patients for out-of-country bariatric procedures that the province could not accommodate. British Columbia has sent only 45 patients in the past five years to the Seattle clinic contracted by Canada’s Ministry of Health. According to The Sun, the cost of such surgery in Seattle is between $19,000 and $22,000, compared to about $13,000 in British Columbia.