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Report confirms looming transfer of eye surgeries from SMH to York Region

Posted May 26, 2014

A 'Vision Care Strategy' under development since 2010 will be presented tomorrow afternoon to Central LHIN's board of directors in Markham. It confirms plans to transfer "small volume" cataract surgeries currently performed at Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston and Humber Regional, to Southlake in Newmarket, and North York - Branson site.

The move, which was endorsed by SMH's board of directors, is listed in the "next steps" of the "Road Map to Excellent Eye Care." As are plans to strike a "A sub-group of Eye Care Committee (Clinical leads from each hospital) will work to develop a business case for expanding specialty procedures within the Central LHIN in the next three to five years." How that component could impact SMH, remains unclear at this time as Alliston has also been the site of specialized eye surgeries not otherwise performed north of Toronto in this region.

In 2012-13, Dr. Bassar Khan performed 190 glaucoma procedures at a cost of about $1,000 each to the hospital's budget. Last spring, SMH implemented a hard cap of 45, which was reached by September 2013, forcing planned surgeries to be cancelled. SMH justified the cuts by noting the majority of patients were from outside the hospital's catchment area. That budget cut followed Central LHIN cutting back its funding to SMH for cataract surgeries to 300.

In 2010-11 there were 723 ophthalmology procedures performed at SMH, 714 in 2011-12, and 666, in 2012-13, according to the report, which also highlights: Central LHIN hospitals performed 48,920 surgical ophthalmology procedures in Fiscal Year 2010-11 to 2012-1. The majority of these procedures (99.7 per cent) were performed as a day surgery, while 0.3 per cent procedures were performed for inpatients. Most of these procedures were for adult patients (98.7 per cent) and a small percentage was performed for paediatric patients (1.3 per cent). The average age of these patients was 70 years.

"The strategic directions provided in this report serve as a roadmap to meet future ophthalmology needs within Central LHIN. Successful implementation of these strategies requires strong collaboration between many stakeholders involved in providing vision care. Under the leadership of the CLECC, hospital clinicians and administration, ophthalmologists, and the Central LHIN will continue to work together to monitor and enhance the quality, accessibility, and efficiency of local vision care and maintain excellent patient satisfaction of our ophthalmology services," according to the report's conclusion.

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