The physicians who deliver medicine in Toronto’s Alfi clinic say they can’t offer much in the way of free advice on how to navigate the financial and health-care landscape, but they’re offering up their expertise to help patients make a financial commitment to the process.
“We know that in order to make the right decision, you have to do it right, but sometimes you can’t be on the phone,” said Dr. Ali Hasan, who co-ordinates the Alfi Health and Medical Clinic and has served as an expert witness in a case where a woman paid for her doctor’s visit with a pre-paid debit card.
“I would say that you should do your homework, be careful, be patient, but if you can do that, then I would encourage you to do so.”
Hasan, 57, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is now at home recovering, said he’s noticed a shift in the treatment of the disease in recent years, as women have been more accepting of treatment options.
“There’s a lot of people now that have decided to have children, and there are so many options,” he said.
“A lot of women are really grateful to have the option of doing that and now they have the ability to do that.”
Hasan said women often come to him with financial concerns, such as being unable to afford treatment, or not being able to afford a second child.
“They have financial concerns and they just want to get the treatment that they need,” he explained.
“It’s just so frustrating, but I don’t think there’s any other way.”
As a physician, Hasan said he sees patients from all walks of life and the healthcare landscape is still “very complex” and that patients can’t always make informed decisions about treatment.
“If they can, then they can do what they need to do and make the decision,” he added.
Alfi physicians can prescribe a wide range of drugs, including the standard cancer treatment of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and radiation therapy.
They can also prescribe blood thinners, vitamins, herbal supplements and other health and wellness products.
Some also offer a free consultation for patients to discuss any issues with their healthcare provider.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right answer because sometimes they’re talking about something that you don’t have the information or understanding,” said Hasan.
“And they don’t want to waste their time with something that they don,t understand.”
A woman who was referred to Hasan as a patient recently told him she had been told that she was eligible for a prelude payment on her alfi clinic bills, which she did not receive.
The woman said she was shocked that she had paid for the appointment, which was the only way she could pay for the drugs.
“When you’re going through this, you know, you’re really struggling, you’ve been through so much, you don.t want to pay for things,” she told Hasan.
The man said that, as an alfi physician, he is more than happy to help.
“You can see that a lot more patients, especially women, are coming to us,” he told Hasan, adding that he’s seen patients “willing to pay anything, anything to get better.”
In another recent case, a woman told Hasan she had to pay $10,000 for her alife doctor’s consultation, and the clinic was told she would have to pay another $10 for another consultation in the future.
Hasan said the woman was not in a position to pay that amount of money, but that she would pay the other $5 for the second consultation.
The patient said she would like to pay her bills in full and would rather wait than pay for an unnecessary consultation.
“So she’s not a bad person, she’s a bad patient,” he pointed out.
In another case, Hasan took on the task of writing a patient’s medical history, asking her about any medication she took for allergies, asthma or other conditions.
Hasan also asked about her lifestyle, and she said that she took a daily dose of vitamin D. “What are you doing to protect your skin?” he asked her.
Hasan explained that it’s not the first time he’s faced this issue, and that, in fact, he has been seeing patients who have experienced side effects from medications.
“Some people get very sick very quickly, and they don.tl be really concerned about it, but you have a right to be able to manage it,” he stated.
“Most people are able to pay.
Most people will not, and you have the right to do what you want.”
Hasan stressed that the patients who are willing to pay are also the ones who will benefit from his expertise.
“The best way to help somebody is to help them.
If you want to be successful, you need to help people, but people have to be patient,” Hasan concluded.
Hassan is one of two physicians who will take