Central Local Health Integration Network Receives Funding to Alleviate ER Pressures



    TORONTO, May 22 /CNW/ - The Central Local Health Integration Network
(LHIN) is receiving funding through the province's ER Strategy for a number of
initiatives to reduce emergency room wait times and improve patient
satisfaction.
    Of the $82 million province-wide investment for 2009/10, Central LHIN
will benefit through:

    
    -   $ 7,851,200 to provide funding incentives to 6 hospital sites and the
        Central CCAC to assist in decreasing wait times in emergency
        departments. The hospitals will receive the funding if they can meet
        specific targets and reduce the time patients spend in the ER.
    -   Four physician assistants to work in local ERs
    -   Funding for municipalities for dedicated nurses to care for patients,
        who arrive at ERs by ambulance, to ease ambulance offload delays
    -   Investments in community projects to help patients with chronic or
        palliative conditions receive care in the community and avoid
        frequent ER visits
    -   An emergency room process improvement program that will deliver
        coaching teams and tools to help select hospitals improve processes
        and patient access in ERs.
    -   Continued investments for helping Ontarians identify the health care
        options in their communities - such as walk in clinics or family
        health teams - that are appropriate alternatives to ERs.
    

    Today's announcement builds on the initiatives announced earlier this
week to expand access to home and community-based services which will help
some patients avoid unnecessary ER visits and lengthy hospital stays.

    QUOTES

    "The continued investments in the coordination of initiatives for the ER
strategy is helping to reduce pressures on emergency rooms in our LHIN and
enabling them to operate more efficiently and provide the care that patients
need faster."
    -Kim Baker, Acting CEO, Central LHIN

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -   In February, the government began publicly reporting the time people
        spend in ERs while setting targets of four hours for patients with
        minor or uncomplicated (90 per cent of patients) conditions and eight
        hours for patients with complex conditions (90 per cent of patients).
    

    The Central LHIN is one of fourteen regional networks in Ontario created
to plan, integrate and fund local health services. It is responsible for
leading the transformation of the local health care system and works closely
with over 140 health service providers including hospitals, the Central CCAC,
long term care facilities and consumers and their families to integrate health
care practices into a model that works for the people of York Region, North
Toronto and south Simcoe.


    
    Backgrounder

         Central LHIN INVESTING IN INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE EMERGENCY
                               ROOM PERFORMANCE
    

    The Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is helping the
region's hospitals reduce the amount of time people spend in emergency rooms
(ERs) through initiatives funded through the government's ER Strategy:

    INVESTING IN HOSPITALS TO IMPROVE ER PERFORMANCE

    The Central LHIN will provide more than $ 7,851,200 in Pay for Results
funding to help the region's hospitals reduce ER wait times and improve
patient satisfaction.
    The Pay for Results program rewards hospitals for meeting specific ER
wait time reduction targets. It also provides them with opportunities and
funding to meet these targets. Hospitals can use the money in a variety of
ways -- for example, they could expand emergency department teams, reorganize
how these teams interact to encourage more collaboration, or renovate an
emergency room to improve patient flow.

    
    Markham Stouffville Hospital      $1,170,500
    York Central Hospital             $1,485,300
    Humber River Hospital             $1,974,600
    North York General                $1,618,300
    Southlake Regional Health Centre  $1,402,500
    Central CCAC                      $  200,000

    PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS IN HOSPITAL ERS

    The Central LHIN is providing funding to place physician assistants in the
ERs of 4 hospitals to help reduce wait times.
    Physician assistants support physicians in a range of health care
settings. Physician assistants might:

    -   Conduct patient interviews and take medical histories
    -   Perform physical examinations
    -   Perform certain controlled acts delegated by a physician
    -   Provide counseling on preventive health care

    Having highly-trained physician assistants on-hand to perform some of
these duties frees up emergency room doctors, allowing them to see more
patients.

    Markham Stouffville Hospital - 1 existing physician assistant
    Stevenson Memorial Hospital - 1 new physician assistant 09/10
    York Central Hospital -1 new physician assistant 09/10
    Humber River Hospital - 1 new physician assistant 09/10
    

    NURSES DEDICATED TO AMBULANCE PATIENTS

    Emergency medical service providers in 14 municipalities will receive
nearly $5 million from the province to provide nurses dedicated to helping
patients who arrive to ERs via ambulance. By taking care of patients when they
arrive, the ambulance offload nurses free up paramedics to respond to other
calls. In 2008/09, the Ontario government provided $4.5 million to support
this initiative.
    The chosen municipalities enter into agreements with specific hospitals
to purchase the services of nurses dedicated to receiving ambulance patients.
The nurses are employed by the hospital.
    Ambulance patients with life-threatening conditions will continue to be
given priority by hospital staff. Other ambulance patients, who do not require
resuscitation or immediate care, will receive timely care from a dedicated
nurse.

    IMPROVING PATIENT ACCESS IN EMERGENCY ROOMS

    Ontario is investing $7.5 million for process improvement programs to
help hospitals better manage patient flow in ERs. The programs provide
hospitals with things like specialized coaching teams and toolkits to help
them quickly identify ways they can improve the operation of their ERs.
    Through this initiative, hospitals will focus on: shortening the amount
of time patients spend waiting in ERs, lowering the time required to admit a
patient to a hospital bed and reducing ambulance offload delays.
    Process improvement programs are currently operating as pilot projects at
hospitals located in the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network
(LHIN). Later this year, process improvement programs will be expanded to more
hospitals in other areas of the province.

    COMMUNITY PROJECTS TO IMPROVE ER PERFORMANCE

    Ontario is devoting $6.5 million to community projects that will help
patients with chronic or palliative conditions receive care in the community
and avoid frequent ER visits.
    This initiative will begin as a number of pilot projects in a few Local
Health Integration Networks. It will focus on cancer patients in palliative
stages, patients with chronic conditions like asthma, and cardiac patients.





For further information:

For further information: Ryan Bissonnette, Communications, (905)
948-1872 ext. 214

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CENTRAL LOCAL HEALTH INTEGRATION NETWORK

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