Surprise Looks Into Bringing Canadian Health Care Facility For Snowbirds

By  Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 3:15pm
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 4:08pm

(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Surprise city officials are looking to see how feasible bringing Canadian healthcare would be.

They say the leaves don’t change here — but the license plates do. ‘Tis the season for snowbirds traveling south to Arizona. One city is looking to bring health care that is targeted especially for those coming from our northern border neighbor.

Canadian health care leaders are in the Valley this week with Surprise officials discussing how to bring Canadian medical services to the area.

Jeanine Jerkovic is Surprise’s economic development director and helped spearhead the program.

“When you’re a city called Surprise, you know you have to be interesting," Jerkovic said. "We like to welcome new people, we like to pilot new things, we’re a very young community.”

The idea is to set up a place in Surprise where Canadian doctors can practice and the snowbirds can get medical services and rehabilitation in a warm place.

Marc Kealey is a Canadian advocate of health reform and says the wait times in Canada for orthopedic surgery are long.

“This is a valve release," Kealey said. "If we looked at this and said right now the wait times in Canada for hips and knees are anywhere from twelve to eighteen months. That’s unconscionable.”

There are about 20,000 Canadian-owned housing units in the Valley, and many are being occupied now as winter arrives and snowbirds migrate.

Canadian lawyer Chris MacLeod said it's a good opportunity.

“The genius of what Surprise has done is create or at least capture a real opportunity that exists to deliver Canadian health care to Canadians in a climate and community that is welcoming and endearing," said MacLeod.

A feasibility study is still being conducted to figure out the cost of bringing Canadian doctors to Surprise.

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