(St. Thomas, ON) – St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) will move to a procedure based Ambulatory Clinic model and will close the Sleep Studies Clinic effective October 2016. Changes in the hospital funding formula, and its impact over the past four years, has motivated hospitals across Ontario to compare how and what services are offered.
The decision to move to a procedure based model in the Ambulatory Clinic was made following extensive research and benchmarking with peer community hospitals.
“By focusing on procedures (ie: urgent consults, excisions, biopsies, aspirations, castings etc.), we will ensure that our patients are receiving the right care, in the right place, by the right provider,” says STEGH Vice President, Mary Stewart.
STEGH’s obligation to be good financial stewards while ensuring it meets the acute care needs of the community is an ongoing challenge that must be met with appropriate evidence-driven decision making.
Currently, 70% of Ambulatory Clinic visits are associated with services commonly provided in community physician offices, including well patient clinics, well patient follow-up clinics, non-interventional and non-day procedure clinics, and primary care activities.
The operation of a Sleep Studies Clinic is not considered a core service of acute care hospitals. It is also worth noting that up to 50% of the sleep studies patients come from outside of the St. Thomas-Elgin region.
The decision will impact staffing at STEGH, including a total of 2.6 FTEs in the Ambulatory Clinic and 4.45 FTEs in the Sleep Studies Lab. STEGH’s goal is the minimize the final impact through early retirement, reassignment, filling existing vacancies, and honouring bumping rights as per collective agreements.
“This decision was made following careful consideration,” adds Stewart. “Decisions that directly impact people’s employment status are never easy. I want to acknowledge the exceptional work, dedication and professionalism of those individuals impacted by this decision.”