Comparing Calgary Private Doctor Clinics

Know your options

When it comes to private doctor clinics in Calgary, you’ve got a quite a few options. How do you choose the best fit for you?

Competition is Good

I strongly believe that the competition between Calgary private doctor clinics is a good thing, both for patients and doctors themselves. It keeps us doctors sharp and on our toes, and gives patients choices.
I welcome patients to check out all the options and compare, and to make things easier, I’ve outlined the differences between my services and pricing, and those of the competition.

Your choices in private Calgary clinics

What Calgary Private Doctor Clinics Have in Common

Almost all family doctor clinics in Alberta are technically “private,” but when people talk about “private clinics” in Calgary they usually means clinics that charge a fee to be a patient.

How do clinics justify charging a fee for what’s supposed to be free healthcare? By bundling in extra services that aren’t covered by Alberta Health. Some examples of this:

  • Comprehensive “head-to-toe” assessments
  • Extra tests such as body fat analysis and treadmill stress testing
  • Extra services like dietitians, physiotherapists, massage therapy or psychologists
  • On-site bloodwork services
  • No charge for doctor’s notes, form completion or missed appointments

Most private clinic fees are tax deductible for the Canada Medical Expense Tax Credit, and many private health plans that offer Health Spending Accounts may also reimburse patients for some or all of these fees. Some companies in Calgary also cover the fees as an employee benefit.

How Dr. Bing Wu stacks up against the competition

Dr. Bing Wu offers the lowest fees among Calgary private doctor clinics. That’s in part because Bing believes in keeping fees affordable and accessible, but also to avoid making most patients pay for services they don’t really use.

Dr. Bing Wu previously worked at Preventous Collaborative Health and therefore has first hand experience and knowledge of what patients really want from a private doctor’s office.

Membership Fees
Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
Adults: $1,499/year
No "Complete Health Assessment" Fees

Dr. Bing Wu has the lowest membership fees of any Calgary private clinic. There are extra “Health Assessment” fees for new patients. All new patients can expect a thorough physical exam and a full panel of screening bloodwork, as part of a continuous health improvement plan in collaboration with you as the patient.

The Competition
Adults: $3,500-$4,000/year
+ One Time Assessment fee of $1,500 to $2,000

Other private clinics typically require all new patients to undergo a “Complete” or “Total Health Assessment” that costs anywhere from $1,500-$2,000. These are often little more than a physical exam, a treadmill test and a food journaling exercise with the dietitian, after which you’re given a colorful binder full of mostly copy-and-pasted general health advice. In other words, a big money grab. 90% of patients will never see the dietitian again.

Who Provides Care
Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
Always Dr. Bing Wu

You’ll have a direct line of contact to Dr. Bing Wu, who works full time, Monday to Friday, 9 am – 6 pm. Dr. Bing Wu takes full ownership of his practice and is committed to providing ongoing medical care as a member of the Calgary community.

You’ll never have to see another doctor except in rare situations where Bing is on vacation, or if you prefer a female provider for pap smears or pelvic exams.

You’ll always deal directly with Bing for all your health needs, including prescription renewals, and Bing will answer your emails directly.

The Competition
Various doctors and nurse practitioners

Many doctors at other clinics work only part-time, which means you may not always see your usual doctor. Many private clinics have turnover of doctors, which means you may have different doctors over the years.

Many clinics also employ nurse practitioners to reduce costs, and may require that you first go through a nurse to request prescription renewals.

A few clinics such as Provital and Preventous may offer Saturday hours.

Services Offered
Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
On-site bloodwork

Dr. Bing Wu will be offering on-site bloodwork as soon as the province-wide shortage of blood tubes resolves.

The Competition
On-site bloodwork

On-site bloodwork is universally offered at most private clinics in Calgary, but a province-wide blood tube shortage means that these services may be on hold in the short term.

Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
No extra allied health services

Most patients don’t use extra services such as the dietitian or physiotherapist beyond their initial health assessment, and if you do need these services, Dr. Bing Wu can refer you to any number of qualified practitioners in Calgary at a fraction of the cost that you would pay at other private clinics.

The Competition
Dietitian, Physiotherapist, Massage Therapy, Psychologist

These services are definitely nice to have, but you can often get them at better rates with a provider of your own choice elsewhere. Save your money and spend it on the services you need.

Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
24 hour access to 811 Healthlink

As a solo practitioner, Dr. Bing Wu isn’t able to offer 24-hour coverage by phone, however he is part of the Foothills Primary Care Network which offers access to an after hours clinic until 9 pm weekdays and 10 am-4pm on weekends and holidays. You can also access 24-hour telephone advice with a nurse through 811 Healthlink.

The Competition
24 hour on call service

Most private clinics have a 24 hour phone line you can call to talk to a doctor or nurse practitioner for after-hours care. Keep in mind that after-hours care is generally limited to minor issues, and in many cases you’ll still be directed to visit an emergency room.

Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
No marketing specialists or MBAs

All fees you pay to Bing MD directly support your doctor and the services you’re provided. There are no MBAs or “healthcare executives” looking to make profits from your medical care.

The Competition
A big marketing department

Many private clinics in Calgary are run by professional business executives and employ marketing staff, all of which comes out of your membership fees.

Admittedly, they may have nice coffee machines that cost as much as a small car and offer you fancy bottles of sparking water.

Dr. Bing Wu (Bing MD)
Free Underground Parking

Dr. Bing Wu’s office has free underground, heated parking for patients.

The Competition
Parking may be on street or paid

Check with any competitors about their parking situation, as lack of parking or paid parking are causes for patient frustration.

The choice is yours.

Now that you know a little more about the differences between Calgary private doctor clinics, why not book a consultation with Dr. Bing Wu to find out more about Calgary’s most affordable private doctor office and how it can meet your health needs?

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