Ontario Investing In Shorter ER Wait Times



    McGuinty Government Expands Successful Pay-for-Results Program

    TORONTO, May 22 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario is giving the province's most challenged emergency rooms
incentives to improve patient satisfaction and reduce ER wait times.
    The $55 million Pay-for-Results program will give 46 hospitals funding
incentives to meet specific targets and reduce the time patients spend in the
ER. Last year, 23 hospitals participated and were able to reduce the amount of
time non-urgent patients spent in their ERs by 29 per cent.
    The expanded Pay-for Results program is part of the comprehensive $82
million ER Wait Times Strategy aimed at improving the efficiency and
performance of hospital ERs across the province. Other highlights include:

    
    -  $5 million for dedicated nurses to care for patients who arrive at ERs
       by ambulance to ease ambulance offload delays
    -  $6.5 million for community projects to help patients with chronic or
       palliative conditions receive care in the community and avoid frequent
       ER visits
    -  $7.5 million for an emergency room process improvement program that
       includes coaching teams and tools to help select hospitals improve
       processes and patient flow in ERs.
    -  $4.1 million to have physician assistants work in ERs
    -  $4 million for public and partner education to help 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

    "I'm pleased to be able to continue working with our hospitals to reduce
ER wait times. These investments are targeted directly at providing timely,
high quality emergency care for patients."
    - David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

    "Improving ER times involves making these comprehensive investments each
year to ensure the most efficient processes are in place to deliver the best
care to patients. Hospitals and LHINs have been showing strong leadership and
we look forward to lower ER times and improved patient satisfaction."
    - Dr. Alan Hudson, Provincial Executive Lead, Access to Services and Wait
Times.

    "The Pay-for Results program has been a tremendously successful lever to
engage hospitals and LHINs in seriously addressing long ER waiting times, and
is a key part of the government's ER/ALC strategy. The expansion of this
program is another very positive step towards improving care for ER patients
in Ontario."
    - Michael Schull, ER Strategy Provincial Lead

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -  There are 163 emergency rooms in the province, with 2.8 million people
       making 5.25 million visits to these ERs each year.
    -  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 conditions and eight hours for patients with
       complex conditions.

    LEARN MORE

    Learn about the alternatives to a hospital ER
(http://www.health.gov.on.ca/ms/healthcareoptions/public/index.html).
    Find out more about the reporting of the time spent in ERs
(http://www.health.gov.on.ca/transformation/length_of_stay/index.html).

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                                                      ontario.ca/health-news
                                                      Disponible en français


    BACKGROUNDER
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                      CASE STUDY: PAY FOR RESULTS HELPS
         WINDSOR REGIONAL HOSPITAL REDUCE EMERGENCY ROOM WAIT TIMES

    Ontario's Pay for Results program has helped Windsor Regional Hospital
decrease the amount of time patients spend in the hospital's emergency room.

    Last year, the hospital received $1.68 million in Pay for Results funding.
The incentives and tools implemented through the program enabled the hospital
to:

    -  Reduce the amount of time that patients with minor or uncomplicated
       conditions - which require less time for diagnosis, treatment and
       observation - spend waiting in the emergency room by 9.1 per cent.
    -  Handle a 13 per cent increase in the number of patients arriving in
       the emergency room with complex conditions - which require more time
       for diagnosis, treatment or hospital bed admission.
    -  Increase patient satisfaction by nearly five per cent.

    Windsor Regional Hospital took a number of steps to achieve these results.
The hospital:

    -  Increased access to a CT scanner on weekends and during afternoons to
       help emergency room patients access needed diagnostic scans more
       quickly.
    -  Redesigned the emergency room to include a separate waiting area for
       patients who do not need to be admitted to hospital but still require
       medical attention. The hospital also recruited nurse practitioners to
       help increase access to care and reduce wait times for these patients.
    -  Provided additional training to health care professionals in order to
       speed up the triage process. The training helped health workers better
       prioritize which patients should receive care first. The hospital also
       sped up the patient registration process by doing triage and
       registration simultaneously.
    -  Created a centralized, colour-coded system to help hospital staff
       better manage patients in the emergency room. Using a magnetized
       board, nurses and doctors indicate whether a patient is awaiting test
       results, or waiting to be admitted or discharged from hospital. This
       helps the hospital more effectively track and manage patient flow.

    This year Windsor Regional Hospital will receive another $1.68 million
through the Pay for Results program. The funds will help the hospital further
reduce the amount of time patients spend in the emergency room and increase
patient satisfaction.

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                                                      ontario.ca/health-news
                                                      Disponible en français


    BACKGROUNDER
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                 ONTARIO'S EMERGENCY ROOM WAIT TIME STRATEGY
    

    As part of its Emergency Room Wait Time Strategy, the Ontario government
is investing more than $82 million in 2009/10 to reduce the amount of time
people spend in hospital emergency rooms (ERs). This is the second year that
the government is investing in this comprehensive strategy. The strategy helps
hospitals improve emergency room (ER) performance in a number of ways:

    INVESTING IN HOSPITALS TO IMPROVE ER PERFORMANCE

    In 2009/2010, 46 hospitals facing significant ER challenges will receive
$55 million to help them improve ER access and reduce wait times.
    The program, known as Pay for Results, 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 staffing as part of
emergency department teams, reorganize how these teams interact to encourage
more collaboration, or renovate an emergency room to improve patient flow.
    Last year, Ontario invested close to $30 million in Pay for Results
funding to 23 hospitals facing ER performance challenges.
    This year, the program is expanding to include investments in 46
hospitals in all 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), including:

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Local Health Integration Network                                 2009/10
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ERIE ST. CLAIR LHIN                                           $1,679,600
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SOUTH WEST LHIN                                                 $904,100
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    WATERLOO WELLINGTON LHIN                                      $2,390,300
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HAMILTON NIAGARA HALDIMAND BRANT LHIN                         $5,571,500
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CENTRAL WEST LHIN                                             $3,910,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MISSISSAUGA HALTON LHIN                                       $5,993,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TORONTO CENTRAL LHIN                                          $7,902,200
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CENTRAL LHIN                                                  $7,850,800
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CENTRAL EAST LHIN                                             $7,095,200
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SOUTH EAST LHIN                                                 $942,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CHAMPLAIN LHIN                                                $4,355,300
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NORTH SIMCOE MUSKOKA LHIN                                     $2,082,500
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NORTH EAST LHIN                                               $1,434,800
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NORTH WEST LHIN                                               $2,830,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL                                                        $54,941,300
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    CREATING PROGRAMS TO HELP HOSPITALS IMPROVE PATIENT ACCESS

    Ontario is investing $7.5 million in process improvement programs help
hospitals better manage patient access 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 focus on:

    -  shortening the amount of time patients spend waiting in ERs
    -  finding ways to admit patients to a hospital bed more quickly, and
    -  reducing ambulance offload delays.
    

    Process improvement programs are currently operating as pilot projects at
hospitals located in the Waterloo Wellington LHIN
(http://www.waterloowellingtonlhin.on.ca/). Later this year, process
improvement programs will be expanded to more hospitals in other areas of the
province.

    NURSES DEDICATED TO NON-EMERGENCY AMBULANCE PATIENTS

    The government will continue to support a program that ensures more
ambulances are available for dispatch in Ontario communities.
    Emergency medical service providers in 14 municipalities will receive
nearly $5 million to provide nurses dedicated to helping patients who arrive
to ERs by ambulance. By taking care of patients when they arrive, the
ambulance offload nurses free up paramedics to respond to other calls.
    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.

    
    Ontario's investment for dedicated nurses includes:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Municipality                                             2009/10 Funding
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Durham                                                          $138,889
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Middlesex                                                       $277,778
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    Peel                                                            $416,667
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto                                                       $1,805,556
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Greater Sudbury                                                  $69,443
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Essex                                                           $277,778
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peterborough                                                    $138,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    York                                                            $416,667
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    Halton                                                          $138,889
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    Ottawa                                                          $537,768
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Niagara                                                         $137,714
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    Hamilton                                                        $416,667
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Frontenac                                                        $69,443
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Waterloo                                                        $138,889
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Funding                                                 $4,980,148
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    INTRODUCING PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS TO HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS

    The government is investing $4.1 million to place 27 physician assistants
into 26 hospital emergency rooms around the province.

    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 counselling 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.

    Ontario's investment in physician assistants include:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Local Health Integration Network               Existing or New Physician
                 (LHIN)                                  Assistants (PA)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Erie St Clair LHIN                                       2 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    South West LHIN                                          3 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Waterloo Wellington LHIN                               1 Existing
                                                             1 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN                    2 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mississauga Halton LHIN                                  2 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto Central LHIN                                     3 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Central LHIN                                           1 Existing
                                                             3 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Central East LHIN                                        1 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    South East LHIN                                        2 Existing
                                                             1 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Champlain LHIN                                         1 Existing
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN                                1 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North East LHIN                                        2 Existing
                                                             1 New
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL Physician Assistants                                 27
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    COMMUNITY PROJECTS TO IMPROVE ER PERFORMANCE

    Ontario is investing $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.

    COMMUNICATIONS ON HEALTH CARE OPTIONS

    The Government is investing $4 million to continue helping Ontarians
identify the health care options in their communities that are appropriate
alternatives to ERs. This investment will support the public and stakeholder
education campaign to continue promoting www.ontario.ca/healthcareoptions
(http://www.health.gov.on.ca/ms/healthcareoptions/public/index.html).
    The site, which was launched in February 20009, is Ontario's new one-stop
source of information on health care services, with a focus on alternatives to
ER care. Using this site, people can find the nearest walk-in and after-hours
clinics, urgent care centres, family health teams, family health care
providers and emergency rooms. As well, the site provides information on how
to register in Health Care Connect, Ontario's new program designed to help
Ontarians without a family health care provider find one.

    
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                                                      ontario.ca/health-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: Steve Erwin, Minister's Office, (416) 326-3986;
Andrew Morrison, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197

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