South West LHIN investing in initiatives to improve emergency room performance and patient satisfaction



    TORONTO, May 22 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is receiving
funding through the province's Emergency Room (ER) Strategy to reduce
emergency room wait times and improve patient satisfaction.
    Of the $82 million province-wide investment by the Ministry of Health and
Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) for 2009/10, the South West LHIN will invest $904,100
in Pay for Results funding to London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), which is
facing ER pressures. LHSC and the South West Community Care Access Centre
(CCAC) will work together to meet specific targets and reduce the time
patients spend in the ER.

    OTHER MOHLTC INVESTMENTS IN THE PROVINCIAL ER STRATEGY

    In addition to the Pay For Results initiative, MOHLTC is continuing to
invest and expand on the provincial ER Strategy in the South West LHIN
through:

    
    -  New funding for 3 physician assistants to work in ERs in Goderich,
       Hanover and Wingham hospitals.

    -  Funding to Middlesex County 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 funding for Aging at Home and related
seniors health care 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

    "Reducing the time people spend in ERs is a complex health system issue
that cannot be solved by focusing on the hospital ER alone. The South West
LHIN has made investments across the entire system by expanding alternatives
to ER services, improving the flow of patients through the ER, and ensuring
earlier discharges for those patients that no longer require hospital care." -
Michael Barrett, Chief Executive Officer, South West LHIN

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -  In February, the ministry began publicly reporting the time people
       spend in ERs while setting targets of four hours for at least 90 per
       cent of patients with minor or uncomplicated conditions and eight
       hours for at least 90 per cent of patients with complex conditions.
       Emergency Room Wait Times are posted on the MOHLTC web site at
       http://www.health.gov.on.ca/transformation/wait_times/wait_mn.html
    

    The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is a crown agency
responsible for planning, integrating and funding more than 150 health service
providers, including hospitals, long-term care homes, mental health and
addictions agencies, community support services, community health centres, and
the South West Community Care Access Centre. Established under the Local
Health System Integration Act, 2006, as one of 14 LHINs across Ontario, the
South West LHIN operates an annual health care budget of $1.9 billion. The
South West LHIN covers an area from Lake Erie to the Bruce Peninsula and is
home to almost one million people.


    BACKGROUNDER


    SOUTH WEST LHIN INVESTING IN INITIATIVES
    TO IMPROVE EMERGENCY ROOM PERFORMANCE AND PATIENT SATISFACTION

    The South West 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 EMERGENCY ROOM PERFORMANCE

    The South West LHIN will provide $904,100 in Pay for Results funding for
fiscal year 2009/10 to help the London Health Sciences Centre reduce ER wait
times and improve patient satisfaction. LHSC and the South West Community Care
Access Centre (CCAC) will work together to meet specific targets and reduce
the time patients spend in the ER.
    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 funds 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.

    PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS IN HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS

    The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is providing funding in the
South West LHIN to place physician assistants in the ERs at hospitals in
Hanover, Goderich and Wingham 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.
    The hospitals receiving new funding for physician assistants are:
    
    -  Hanover and District Hospital in Hanover
    -  Alexandra Marine & General Hospital in Goderich
    -  Wingham and District Hospital in Wingham.
    

    NURSES DEDICATED TO AMBULANCE PATIENTS

    Emergency medical service providers in 14 municipalities will receive
nearly $5 million from the province through MOHLTC 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.
    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.
    In the South West LHIN, Middlesex County is receiving funding through
this initiative.

    COMMUNITY PROJECTS TO IMPROVE EMERCENCY ROOM PERFORMANCE

    MOHLTC is also devoting $6.5 million in government funding across Ontario
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 LHINs.
It will focus on cancer patients in palliative stages, patients with chronic
conditions like asthma, and cardiac patients.

    IMPROVING PATIENT ACCESS IN EMERGENCY ROOMS

    A further $7.5 million in government funding is being invested by MOHLTC
throughout the province 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 LHIN. Later this year, process
improvement programs will be expanded to more hospitals in other areas of the
province.





For further information:

For further information: Jim Durham, (519) 672-0445, ext. 2596,
jim.durham@lhins.on.ca; Annabelle Mackey, (519) 672-0445, ext. 2573,
annabelle.mackey@lhins.on.ca; Toll-free: 1 866 294-5446,
www.southwestlhin.on.ca

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South West Local Health Integration Network

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