Since the introduction of Nova Scotia’s 8-1-1 non-medical emergency call service, US-based McKesson Corporation has held the contract.
Some members of Nova Scotia’s medical community have complained that the original contract earned the out-of-country company more money per patient call than a family physician was paid for seeing a patient in their office. Another complaint was that the US-based McKesson staff worked off a script based on standards influenced by America’s more litigious culture and which didn’t fully appreciate the geographic and demographic challenges and realties of Nova Scotia.
The contract has been switched to Medavie Health Services (MHS). MHS is a new corporate division of the Medavie Health Services Group of Companies. It has operated in Nova Scotia as Medavie EMS, which has, and will continue, to provide the provincial ambulance service.
The benefits of the new contract are projected to be three-fold. First, it’s less expensive than the previous contract. Secondly, it offers added coverage like smoking cessation and gambling awareness programs. Thirdly, MHS is also providing live staff to the Do You Need A Doctor contact vs the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s (unresponsive and frustrating) recorded message for citizens seeking a doctor.