The Inside Story
New Third-Party Surgery Contracts Planned for RQHR
The success of a new initiative in providing selected day surgery procedures outside of the hospital setting has led to plans to extend the service contract and issue a call for a longer-term service provider.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued today by the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region (RQHR) for a third-party to provide certain surgical services outside of the hospital setting, for the period of fall 2011 to December 31, 2013.
"We have found, through our experience with Omni Surgery Centre in Regina, that third-party delivery of certain surgical procedures allows us to reduce our waiting lists for those procedures, and also frees up surgical time for other procedures in our acute care facilities," said Trent Truscott, Executive Director of Surgical Care Services for the Region. "As a result of this success, we would like to provide these benefits on a longer-term basis, to the end of 2013."
On August 30, 2010 RQHR entered into a short-term, sole-source contract with Omni Surgery Centre to provide dental surgery and knee arthroscopy procedures. That contract is currently scheduled to end March 31, 2011.
Given the successes experienced as a result of this contract, RQHR is issuing an RFP today for those services, and other surgeries in the areas of: ear, nose and throat; gynecology; orthopedics; and dental, beginning this fall and ending December 31, 2013. In order to avoid a gap in services, RQHR intends to extend its current service agreement with Omni into the fall of 2011, when a service provider is expected to be chosen through the RFP process.
"We are making significant progress on reducing surgical wait times through a number of initiatives, and third party delivery of surgeries is just one aspect of our overall strategy," Health Minister Don McMorris said. "To achieve sooner, safer, smarter surgical services and really put our patients first, we need to use innovative strategies."
The expansion of third-party service is in full compliance with the Canada Health Act. Patients are not required to pay a fee for services, nor are they allowed to "jump the queue".
Between September and December 2010, Omni Surgery Centre completed a total of 171 surgeries, which has assisted in reducing Region wait times for those procedures.
"With the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region seeking a third party provider - along with Saskatoon Health Region, which also issued its own RFP for surgical procedures today - it means Saskatchewan people will have shorter waits for surgeries," McMorris said. "That's what the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative is all about: shorter waits and improving the patient experience."
Third party delivery of selected day surgery procedures and specialized diagnostic imaging is one element of a provincial strategy endorsed by the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative. The strategy to provide sooner, safer, smarter surgical care includes a surgical wait time goal of no more than three months for all patients by 2014.
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