Venice Family Clinic

Topics: Health care, Medicine, Health economics Pages: 99 (38225 words) Published: August 31, 2011
Waiting Too Long: Reducing and Better Managing Wait Times in BC

A Policy Paper by the BCMA’s Council on Health Economics & Policy

June 2006

British Columbia Medical Association June 2006

The BCMA Council on Health Economics and Policy (CHEP) reviews and formulates policy through the use of project oriented groups of practising physicians and professional staff. The Project Group for this paper includes:

Wait List Management Project Group Membership Dr. Don Milliken, Chair, Psychiatry, Victoria Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, General Practice, Trail Dr. John Mathieson, Radiology, Victoria Dr. Surendranath Sanmugasunderam, Ophthalmology, Vancouver Dr. Keith Stothers, Orthopedic Surgery, Vancouver

BCMA Council on Health Economics and Policy (CHEP) Membership 2005-2006 Dr. Marshall Dahl, Chair – Internal Medicine/Endocrinology, Vancouver Dr. Geoffrey Appleton – General Practice, Terrace Dr. Jack Burak – General Practice, Vancouver Dr. Brian Gregory – Dermatology, Vancouver Dr. Trina Larsen Soles – General Practice, Golden Dr. Alexander (Don) Milliken – Psychiatry, Victoria Dr. David F. Smith – Paediatrics, Vancouver

Staff support was provided by Michael Epp, Director of Policy and Planning; Jonathan Agnew, Senior Policy Consultant; Michael Kary, Research Analyst; and Linda Kowalski, Administrative Assistant.

Contents of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, provided the intended use is for non-commercial purposes and full acknowledgement is given to the British Columbia Medical Association.

British Columbia Medical Association June 2006

Table of Contents
Executive Summary / 1 I. II. III. IV. V. VI. The Wait List Problem / 5 Wait List Management Techniques / 9 Wait List Management in British Columbia / 11 Wait List Management in Canada / 14 International Scan on Wait List Management / 21 Recommendations for Reducing Waits in BC / 27

Conclusion / 64 Appendix A List of Recommendations / 65 Appendix B Principles for Establishing Medically Acceptable Wait Time Benchmarks (Canadian Wait Time Alliance, 2005) / 69 Appendix C Actual Wait Times for Selected Treatments, Selected Provinces – Public Web Site Information as of December 2005 (Health Council of Canada Annual Report: 2005) / 70 Appendix D 10 Steps Suggested Toward a Common Framework for Reporting on Wait Times (Health Council of Canada) / 71 Endnotes / 72

British Columbia Medical Association June 2006

Waiting Too Long


Executive Summary
Wait lists remain one of the most significant problems facing our heath care system. The importance of reducing waits has been raised in numerous health care reports. In the 2004 federal Throne Speech, the government stated that “the length of waiting times for the most important diagnoses and treatments is a litmus test of our health care system [and] these waiting times must be reduced.” Public opinion surveys also highlight the importance placed on reducing wait lists. In a 2005 Pollara Poll, the highest number of respondents (43%) identified lengthy waits followed by a shortage of physicians (33%) as the most serious problems facing the health care system. A 2006 survey done by the Canada West Foundation found over 75% of respondents from the western provinces identified reducing patient wait times as a high priority. This was the highest ranking among 17 policy issues. The BCMA believes it is essential to provide a strategy to help reduce and better manage wait times within BC’s health care system. In addition to providing recommendations, we provide a thorough environmental scan on what BC and other jurisdictions have done in the area of wait lists. Lack of reliable data and disagreement on a definition of wait lists exacerbates the debate and efforts to find solutions. Data on provincial waits in BC are currently available from two main sources: the Ministry of Health and the Fraser Institute. Both sources conclude that patients continue to face lengthy waits for booked...
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