A costing by the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team has revealed that the team has saved the health care system more than $700,000 since 2014 through its emergency room and after hours clinic diversion programs.
Under these programs, the team’s health care professionals assess whether their care and treatment of the patient in the family health team offices resulted in the patient not having to go to the emergency department or attend local after hours clinics.
Since 2014, tracking patients visits has indicated that more than 8,800 patients have avoided the emergency room and the after hours clinic due to the family health team. Health Quality Ontario reported in 2014/15 that emergency room visits were continuing to raise, especially by patients aged 65 and over.
“Although these numbers are estimates, the real value of the family health team model comes in many other ways,” says Dr. Eric Ready, chair of the board of the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Team. “Examples of this are the improved access to care in rural areas; improved local mental health care; and improved complex chronic disease management. These things are priceless,” adds Ready.
The savings figures were based on average per patient financial data compiled by the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Organization and Lakeridge Health, which is a local ‘case costing’ hospital. The hospital’s case costing program provides detailed, cost-related data to inform decision-making about the types of health services to deliver and how to deliver them. The emergency room costs were based on visits that did not include being admitted to hospital.
The City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team’s Executive Director, Mike Perry, is also pleased with the figures.
“This is a significant savings over time,” he notes. “We will be continuing to help patients and save the health care system money wherever we can. It is also good to see how a family health team can free up wait times and spaces in other key areas of the health system.”
“The Ross Memorial Hospital applauds the efforts of the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team to improve access to primary care. As a close community partner, we are committed to working collaboratively with the Family Health Team to advance access to patient care. Clearly, this data resoundingly supports positive efforts for patient care. Congratulations are in order,” adds Dr. Bert Lauwers, president & CEO of the RMH.
The City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team began operation in 2011 and has health care professionals providing care to patients in Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, Little Britain and Omemee. If you need a family doctor, contact Health Care Connect at 1-800-445-1822 to register locally.