Tara Miller – January 2018
For many Nova Scotians, accessing medical treatment is a challenge as they have NO family doctor to oversee their care. With 42,198 Nova Scotians on a wait list for a family doctor, 72 openings for full time family physicians across the province and Stats Canada indicating almost 100,000 Nova Scotians over the age of 12 are without a family doctor (as of December 2017), accessing medical care can be difficult at the best of times. The situation is compounded and magnified when Nova Scotians are injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Recovering from accident injuries requires medical attention and follow up care. There are many forms to be completed by a physician in the aftermath of an accident to ensure you can access insurance, income and other benefits. Additionally, and in order to advance a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove your injuries based on medical evidence. The absence of a family doctor makes this a challenge.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may have access to specialists (ie., for moderate to serious injuries involving significant trauma such as fractures or brain injury) who will be able to complete forms and monitor/direct any follow up care and treatment. However, for injuries which may not result in specialist intervention (ie., soft tissue injuries), individuals without a primary health care provider are often left to their own devices to navigate and advocate for much needed care.
If you are one of the nearly 100,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor and are then injured in a motor vehicle accident, MDW Law recommends that you:
- Seek medical attention immediately or as soon as possible after an accident at an Emergency Room or walk-in clinic. Although the wait to be seen may be long and frustrating, the benefit of seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident cannot be overstated;
- See a physiotherapist or chiropractor for an assessment and treatment plan. Financial coverage for necessary medical treatment required as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident is available to all through Section B benefits (http://www.mdwlaw.ca/personal-injury-what-are-no-fault-section-b-benefits/). No-fault diagnostic and treatment protocols for minor injuries (sprains, strains and whiplash injuries) were introduced in 2013 to allow direct access to physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment without requiring a referral from a physician (or needing to wait for approval from an insurer). What this means practically is that if you sustain a sprain, strain or whiplash injury, you can go directly to a physiotherapist or chiropractor for an assessment and treatment plan without the need to see a family doctor. The physio or chiro will direct bill your Section B insurer for up to 21 treatment sessions.
- Work with existing treatment providers to develop a plan for further treatment based on your prognosis. Many clinics which offer physiotherapy or chiropractic services have access to other treatment and doctors within the same clinic who may be beneficial in your recovery;
- Return to the ER or walk-in clinic for follow up evaluations. This will create a medical record of your ongoing injury issues and also allow medical professionals an opportunity to assess whether further medical investigation and/or treatment is required; and
- Consult a personal injury lawyer at MDW Law for a free consultation to address the specifics of your situation and other ways to ensure you are maximizing all available avenues for medical treatment.