Saskatchewan patients will now benefit from being able to have certain day surgeries outside of a hospital setting. Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region has started booking patients for dental surgery and knee arthroscopy procedures at Omni Surgery Centre, a private surgical facility in Regina.
The government's ambitious goal is to reduce surgical wait times to no more than three months by 2014. Third-party delivery of surgical services is being introduced under the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative as a way to shorten patients' wait times and help eliminate the backlog of people on the surgical wait list.
"Our first concern is with patients, and providing them with timely surgery," Health Minister Don McMorris said. "This will help to shorten wait times for some day surgeries, and the setting will be more convenient for patients. Day surgeries will be provided and funded within our public health system, so patients will not be required to pay for services and no one will be allowed to jump the queue."
Omni Surgery Centre began providing dental surgery services for the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region August 30. Surgeries are booked through health region processes within the publicly funded, publicly administered health system.
Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region's contract with Omni Surgery Centre meets a commitment to provide day surgery services at or below the cost of providing them in hospitals. A detailed cost analysis confirms that outpatient dental surgery and knee arthroscopies at Omni Surgery Centre will cost less than the same procedures provided in a hospital. Knee surgeries, at $1,500, represent a $179 or 11 percent saving per procedure, while dental surgeries, at $965, represent a $76 or 7 percent saving per procedure. Omni Surgery Centre has been licensed under the provincial Health Facilities Licensing Act and is accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.