New Hampshire hospital markets services to Townshippers

New Hampshire hospital markets services to Townshippers

By Jack Wilson

Local Journalism Initiative


Some in the Townships have received French-language flyers from a New Hampshire hospital, promoting healthcare services across the border. The flyers form part of a campaign by the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, a 16-bed non-profit facility. They include driving directions to the hospital, which is about 20 minutes from the Hereford crossing, and a link to its website.

Following the link, the site leads prospective patients to a list of healthcare services they can add to an online cart: an X-ray for US$337, an ultrasound for US$760, a colonoscopy for US$5,389. Of course, the bulk of these services would be free to Canadians on this side of the border. But “some people would be willing to pay a little bit more instead of waiting,” said Clarke Reiner, the executive assistant behind the campaign.

The campaign comes during a time of strain on Quebec’s healthcare system. Patients have complained about excess wait times for certain services as hospitals struggle to maintain adequate staffing.

Scott Colby, the hospital’s CEO, said few Canadians access the hospital outside of emergency situations. The hope, he said, is to change that and “to build awareness of the options that we have down here.”

Though wait times are high for many services in Canada, “if you need medical imagery,” or other health services, “you’ll have it in Quebec if it’s justified,” said Université de Sherbrooke professor and Canada Research Chair in Clinical Governance on Primary Health Care Mylaine Breton. Emergency care is prioritized over less urgent care, she added. Those looking for healthcare in the U.S., she said, “are either very, very rich,” or are looking for care that, “isn’t judged as pertinent.” Breton listed annual appointments with a family doctor and overly complex imagery as examples of services judged unnecessary by Quebec’s system.

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