Minister Releases Results of FHA Review

The Hon. Terry Lake, Minister of Health released the long-awaited operational review of the Fraser Health Authority yesterday. A copy of the documents related to his announcement can be found in their entirety on the Ministry website by clicking here.

The Minister announced that he is asking the Health Authority to focus its efforts on 10 key priority areas. He also told the media he feels there are simply not enough care beds within the FHA as compared to other health regions – and that too much focus and dollars have been placed into the more costly acute care system.

When you look at the number of residential care beds that are available for the population, the community services that are available to keep people in their homes longer and healthier, the resources aren’t being devoted there because so much is being devoted to hospitals

The Minister states “When you look at the number of residential care beds that are available for the population, the community services that are available to keep people in their homes longer and healthier, the resources aren’t being devoted there because so much is being devoted to hospitals…It’s a matter of rebalancing and making sure we’re not over reliant on the acute-care system. And the acute-care system has some inherent problems in Fraser Health, in terms of quality.”

As many of you are acutely aware, there are currently a significant number of empty beds within our member facilities that could be put to good use in short order. It is estimated the average long-term care bed costs taxpayers approximately $200 per day vs. $1000+ per day for the average acute care bed.

Approximately 300 Net New Beds Required in Fraser Health Region

SOFMapDuring our recent annual conference, Dr. Chris Simpson, incoming President for the Canadian Medical Association, told delegates that not only are acute beds more costly – in most cases they are the wrong type of care for BC seniors. He also indicated keeping seniors in acute care facilities can actually put their overall health at risk.

“Fully utilizing care beds that are sitting empty simply makes sense,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA. “That’s because it would go a long way in helping reduce the pressure facing emergency rooms in places like Surrey Memorial Hospital.”

“It is also worth noting that while some beds sit empty, another 76 beds from our member Burquitlam Lions Manor are scheduled to be taken out of the system next year due to FHA’s decision to close this facility,” says Fontaine. “This is something we have already written to FHA about expressing our concern.”

In reference to the FHA review itself, the Minister indicates the region needs approximately 300 net new care beds in the system to bring it up to provincial standards. Other highlights include:

  • Geographical boundary of the FHA may change resulting in Burnaby moving into Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. However, nothing regarding this change is imminent.
  • The report identifies 10 priority action areas to ensure quality and sustainable service delivery in Fraser Health. They include improving the health authority’s capacity for care by reducing unnecessary use of hospitals; investing in more community care; improving the quality of care delivered in hospitals; building on recent primary care achievements; and delivering a balanced budget.
  • $60M in new funding over the next several years to help support the recommendations
  • Fraser Health’s residential care bed base has increased by 3.64 per cent since March 2010. However, population growth (6.2 per cent from 2009/10 to 2012/13) continues to outpace new residential care capacity.
  • Fraser Health commits “…to working with for-profit, not-for-profit and publically owned facilities, to accommodate the increased patient complexity mix that has developed over the last decade and promises to continue.”

The BCCPA will be immediately reaching out to the Ministry of Health and the Fraser Health Authority congratulating them on a thorough and well written report. We will also be offering our support and assistance in order to help them accomplish the goals and objectives outlined in their updated Strategic and Operating Plan. Working in partnership, we sincerely believe our members can help government deliver on its commitment to provide appropriate, cost-effective care that delivers even better outcomes. 

If you have any questions/concerns or feedback regarding the FHA report, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.