Temiskaming Hospital is taking several steps to address overcrowding at the hospital, one of which is addressing patient transportation issues. Non-urgent patient transportation has become an issue in the past several years as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) decreased providing these services due to capacity, budget and patient safety concerns, ensuring services available for emergent cases. There have been two previous attempts to provide the non-urgent services in the area, both have been discontinued as they were not economically viable. Temiskaming Hospital has entered into a guaranteed rate agreement with Platinum Patient Transfer Services from Sudbury, which will result in a dedicated Non Urgent Patient Transportation Vehicle and staff for the Temiskaming Hospital and its patients.
“With patients not receiving timely access to care, such as an MRI, due to lack of transportation, there is significant impact to patients, staff and the health care system.” stated Erin Montgomery, Chief Nursing Executive and Director of Patient Services at Temiskaming Hospital. “Staff have spent countless hours attempting to book appointments and arranging transportation, only to have transportation cancelled at the last minute…”
“We are pleased to be part of the patient care solution in this partnership with the Temiskaming Hospital”, stated Scott Ryan, President of Platinum Patient Transfer Services, “We look forward to improving patient flow, providing better access to care and reducing the pressures both the hospital and its patients currently face.”
Scott Ryan has stated that hospitals are taking the initiative and are providing more flexible appointment times when they know a dedicated transportation service is available. Most transportation requests in this area are “treat and return” which means both legs of the transport are booked. This also eliminates the ongoing problem of patients and escorts being left at facilities without transportation back to home or the home hospital, thus improving overall patient satisfaction and system efficiency.
“This issue has caused significant frustration for patients and families as appointments are rebooked on a frequent basis, solely due to the lack of transportation services available” clarified Mrs. Montgomery. “Patients waiting for appointments or return trips to other facilities, causes back logs in the hospital.”
“This back log is one of the factors contributing to the overcrowding in the hospital” stated Mike Baker, President & CEO at Temiskaming Hospital. “Almost 50% of our patients right now should be in other facilities, based on their health care needs.”
To accommodate these patients, more and more patients are staying in unconventional places, such as in Emergency or in the Operating Room recovery area. It is inconvenient for patients and inefficient for staff.
As a result, the Hospital is relocating the Chapel and renovating that room to accommodate two more beds. This room will house another two unfunded beds for the hospital to operate; however, having patients in conventional spaces is safer, more efficient and provides more privacy and more dignity for the patient.
“Although the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) did provide some additional funding for non-urgent patient transfer last year, we continue to work with the NE LHIN to provide non-urgent patient transfer and surge funding for these situations” stated Mr. Baker.
The Temiskaming Hospital would like to thank its staff and the community for its patience and understanding as we continue to address this system-wide issue.
Mike Baker, President & CEO, Temiskaming Hospital shaking hands with Scott Ryan, President of Platinum Patient Transfer Services.