Cataract surgery on the move

Director at Rough Valley Health (RVH) David Brazeau says there will be some important changes coming to the health-care system within Scarborough; it will be in the form of services offered at some hospitals being shifted to others within the same area.

“The basic concept is that competition is good for patient care and it will lower costs,” he said.

In January the government presented Ontario’s action plan for health care. And according to the health ministry the goal is to get better value from its health-care dollars. The ministry has switched from a global funding system to patient-based funding (PBF), where hospitals are rewarded based on how many patients they look after and the quality services they deliver. So there is no longer a fixed budget but rather a variable one that’s dependent on PBF.

“The provincial government’s deficit is 14.4 billion the last time I checked, so there are some substantial challenges out there,” Brazeau said.

“There is always room for a lot of quality improvement in health care.”

According to Brazeau, RVH is a low volume provider of cataract

Ministry of Health quality-based procedures

  •  Specific groups of patient services present opportunities for health-care providers to share best practices that will allow the system to achieve even better quality and system efficiencies.
  • This approach will reimburse health care providers for the types and quantities of patients hospitals treat, using evidence-informed rates that are associated with the quality of care delivered.
  • For 2012 three groups of patient services have been targeted :
    1. Hip or Knee replacement surgery
    2. Cataract surgery
    3. Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Other patient groupings will be added over time.

surgery and as of April 2013 it will stop performing the procedure. RVH performs about 1,000 cataract procedures per year but Brazeau explained that the neighbouring Scarborough Hospital performs 6,500 yearly. He said cataract surgery is the only procedure RVH is terminating because the impact on service quality is marginal. However he said other hospitals face more difficult decisions.

“We know that the service is provided nearby and that it will continue being provided to patients, so the impact on patients is minimal,” he said

“It will not negatively impact wait times in fact wait times could potentially improve because our neigbours perform so many more.”

He said the changes have the potential to improve the overall quality of service in the province.