Meet Gary Bloch, a family practice doctor living and working in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Bloch takes the time with each patient he sees to remind them to fill out their tax returns, knowing that many will see a refund and be able to claim various tax credits. As he explains in this piece for The Globe and Mail, "The link between health and income is solid and consistent – almost every major health condition, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness, occurs more often and has worse outcomes among people who live at lower income. As people improve their income, their health improves. It follows that improving my patients’ income should improve their health."
The connection between income and health is both clear and simple: if patients collect the refunds and tax credits they are eligible for, they will boost their income and be much better able to meet their immediate health care needs and stay healthy in the long term.
As I've written about in the past, health problems compound financial ones and vice versa. I would guess that by initiating these conversations about income and tax filing with patients, Dr. Bloch is learning a great deal about possibly the largest sources of stress in his patients' lives, is better able to understand any financial limitations patients' may have in following his medical directives, and is gaining the trust of his patients.