Understanding what happens when you visit a walk-in clinic:
When a medical issue arises, you have choices. These choices include:
- visiting your own family physician, namely, Dr. Anna Piekos;
- seeing another Magenta Health physician after-hours;
- contacting your own family physician for advice;
- visiting a walk-in clinic;
- going to a hospital emergency department;
- call 9-1-1.
This discussion is intended to help Magenta Health patients understand what happens when they choose to go to a walk-in clinic.
The Impact of Visiting a Walk-In Clinic
It’s largely understood that the quality of care at a walk-in is not always comparable to seeing your own family doctor. Regardless of skill and experience, a walk-in physician simply can’t know you or your medical history, what medications and dosages you are on, nor do they have access to your medical records. Moreover, a gap is created in your medical records since we don’t have access to the details of treatments and tests you receive elsewhere, which may have an impact down the road.
A second factor is that your physician will be financially penalized by the Ontario government between $33 -$75 each time you visit a walk-in clinic. When taken in combination with how your physician is typically compensated, once you visit a walk-in clinic more than 1 to 2 times in a given year, your doctor may be paying out of pocket to have you as a patient.
How your Family Physician Tries to reduce your use of walk-in clinics
Your physician has taken the following steps to eliminate your need to visit walk-in clinics:
- Hours: Your physician offers a diverse range of appointment timeslots to meet the needs of patients.
- Last Minute Appointments: Every day that your physician is working in clinic, a number of daytime appointments are made available that cannot be booked until 24-48 hours in advance. These are intended to be available for urgent medical issues.
- After-Hours Clinics: Your physician collaborates with colleagues to offer all patients evening and weekend appointments for urgent issues.
- Vacation Coverage: When your physician is away from the clinic (e.g. educational conferences, vacation), colleagues provide appointments for the absent physician's patients.
- Remote Care: Your physician may correspond with patients electronically.
- Online Scheduling: Patients can schedule an appointment 24/7, and cancelled appointments are immediately made available to other patients.
Your commitment as a patient of dr. Piekos
Your physician would like to remind you that a fundamental aspect of having a family doctor is to see her for all of your medical care needs. Although it may sometimes be more convenient to attend a walk-in clinic, this is inconsistent with having a long-term family doctor. Put another way, your family physician commits to ensuring you always have reasonable access to health care; in turn, the expectation is for you to commit to seeing your own family physician, and not to visit walk-in clinics.
As always, please let us know should there be any questions. If you have a moment, we'd also appreciate finding out if you found this discussion helpful: