Espanola Hospital Administration regional references are confusing

To the Expositor:

Manitoulin Health Centre has watched with keen interest as publically released information concerning health care design has unfolded at our neighboring facility in Espanola. We congratulate this organization on its recent success in securing a needed emergency department redesign and expansion. However, statements concerning Espanola’s role and expanding catchment area made at several regional meetings, coupled with local news articles focusing on the emergency department visits at the Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre have continued to contain references that impact upon the physicians and patients of Manitoulin and we believe it is time to set the record straight where our hospital’s interests are concerned.

Let’s look at the facts. In year 2010, Manitoulin Health Centre’s Little Current hospital site Emergency saw 11,910 patients. Out of this total, 1,586 patients were from the Birch Island to Sudbury corridor, or 13.3 percent of visits. This is a very significant volume from this region! The 1,586 patient visits can also be subdivided into 904 from the Birch Island/Whitefish Falls/Bay of Islands/McGregor Bay area (7.6 percent) and 682 from Espanola/North Shore/Sudbury (5.7 percent).

Clearly, the Little Current hospital site is seeing many patients from this part of our region and we believe any references to Manitoulin and area patients being seen in Espanola is not telling the whole story of “who is going where.” We believe the statistics show that the vast majority of the broader Manitoulin area patients are choosing Manitoulin Health Centre’s services. We attribute this to the commitment, stability and excellence of our physician groups, which provides true continuity of care, and to our exceptional facilities and staff.

Physician capacity and workload has also been a point of comparison between our facilities which has landed in the press. Since our physicians regularly rotate through all aspects of medicine (including their own clinics, family health teams, nursing homes, outreach in First Nations communities, hospital emergency department and in-patient coverage) comparisons with Espanola’s locum physician emergency workload is very incomplete.

Manitoulin Health Centre has supported the initiatives of our neighbors in Espanola. Our hospital has cooperated with our counterparts on numerous regionally-beneficial initiatives and look forward to continuing to do so. It would be helpful in the future if references and comparisons to Manitoulin and our catchment area, as well as our physician services, could please be left out when describing Espanola’s issues.

It has been said that “comparisons are odious.” In this specific situation, I believe this to be true.

Derek Graham
CEO, Manitoulin Health Centre