Jewish General asking patients to seek care elsewhere
Published Thursday, July 19, 2012 5:34PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 19, 2012 6:35PM EDT
MONTREAL - The Jewish General Hospital has beeen getting so many patients that it has, in an effort to reign in expenses, started asking patients to seek service elsewhere, the hospital announced Thursday.
The hospital believes that many of its services could be provided by facilities closer to where the patients live.
“We're certainly open to any patients who need complex therapy or highly specialized therapy, but routine stuff could easily be handled at the peripheral hospitals,” said Dr. Joseph Portnoy, Director of Professional Services.
The new policy is in response to budgetary concerns raised by the province.
“We operate on a fixed budget and there is a limit of patients we can see safely within the budgets provided,” said Jewish General Director of Communications Glen Nashen.
Nashen notes that many services the Jewish offers could be found elsewhere, often in a speedier manner.
“It's certainly not in the interest of a woman with breast cancer who needs radiation to spend an extra amount of time waiting for us to give them therapy when they can start it earlier in a hospital closer to her, so it's an issue of quality of care and it's in their interest,” he said.
But one patients’ rights advocate said that in some cases that’s easier said than done.
“There's no gastroenterology service in the Laurentians so patients end up at St Luc,” said Paul Brunet, citing an example. “And the doctors at St-Luc complain because there are too many patients coming from outside the island.”
Brunet said that the need must be filled by more services in the outlying areas.
“So either they get the budgets or we get gastroenterology in the Laurentians. It's not too complex,” said Brunet.
Nashen said that patients shouldn’t be surprised if doctors at the Jewish General ask them to consider being served at a health facility closer to their home. They could still receive service at the Jewish General nonetheless.
“No patient is going to be turned away; every patient in Quebec has the right to go to the establishment of his choice. And if a patient insists on being seen here at the Jewish General they'll be seen here at the Jewish General,” said Nashen.
The hospital is undergoing a $300 million expansion that will see more facilities open by the end of 2014.