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December 18, 2006

WRHA Signs Agreement With Maples Surgical Centre

Centre to perform more than 1,600 surgeries and 1,200 MRI scans annually

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Maples Surgical Centre have signed a three-year contract worth $2.3 million, WRHA President and CEO Dr. Brian Postl announced today. It ensures patients who need the care the most get it first by eliminating the current situation which has two lines accessing care - one based on need, the second based on ability to pay. The innovative agreement also guarantees new human resources will be added to the public system by requiring Maples to bring in outside resources to perform the additional procedures.

The contract calls for the Centre to perform more than 1,600 day surgeries per year (or up to 1,900 day surgeries per year) - the equivalent of five eight-hour surgical days a week. The surgeries will include general pediatric procedures, pediatric ear, nose and throat and dental surgeries. Medically necessary plastic surgeries for both children and adults will also be performed at the Centre.

"This contract will help the region move more day surgeries out of our hospitals - where they don't need to be performed - into a clinic setting that is more appropriate," Dr. Postl said. "That will free up time in our hospital operating rooms for the more complicated surgeries that need to be performed there and will result in shorter waiting lists for both."

The centre has also agreed to perform approximately 1,200 MRI scans a year - at no cost to patients. Instead, the region will assume the lease of the MRI and pay the cost of performing the scans, approximately $300,000 annually. 

All the procedures will be done without diverting human resources from the public system. Dr. Postl said that's a major reason why the region and the centre were able to reach an agreement. The Maples agreed to bring in anesthetists and nurses as needed from outside Manitoba's public system for these procedures.

"There are already lots of demands on health care professionals currently working in our system," Dr. Postl said. "This arrangement will ensure no further stress to the system."

As with any other agency or institution funded by the WRHA, the Maples Surgical Centre will be required to prepare an annual report, provide the region with any information it requires to conduct performance audits to participate in the region's patient safety initiative, reporting and reviewing Critical Incidents. 

The WRHA will conduct an evaluation of the contract at the end of the three-year term. Maples will start performing both the surgeries and the scans on February 1st, 2007.

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