Baffin hospital flunks accreditation review

GN gives $2.3 million cash transfusion to battered BRH


The ailing Baffin Region Hospital will get $2.3 million worth of extra money from the GN, after the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation refused to grant “accreditation” to the facility.

In simple words, this means the BRH does not meet national standards.

The Baffin hospital has been accredited by the health services council since the early 1990s. This is the first time they’ve managed to flunk the test.

To get “accreditation” from the council, a hospital must meet certain minimum standards of service. The most important criteria are quality and risk to patients, which the council defines the as the risk of “danger, loss or injury.”

“For health service organizations, ‘danger, loss or injury’ may include adverse events related to: the health and well-being of clients, staff and the public; property; reputation; environment; organizational functioning (including quality improvement); financial stability, market share and other things of value,” the council says in its 2005 accreditation deadlines.

After reviewing a hospital, the council uses a scoring system to judge the institution according to five levels. The lowest level, “non-acreditation” is given to hospitals that gain a score of 4.5 in fewer than 11 areas.

To fix the mess, the BRH will use the $2.3 million to hire 26 more employees: housekeepers, clerk interpreters, records clerks, a handyman, more registered nurses, and more technical staff.

The poor rating from the health services council comes as no surprise, however, to GN health administrators.

Three evaluation reports done between August, 2004 and December, 2005 found that services have been deteriorating at the hospital.

A GN press release says those reports found that:

* Risk management systems need to be updated;
* There are too few staff to serve Baffin’s growing population;
* Information management (translation: “record-keeping”), has not kept up with growth in demand.

In the press release, the GN says the extra money will help bring the quality of care at the hospital up to national standards.

They’ve already started hiring new housekeepers and clerk-interpreters, and will start recruiting in March to fill more jobs.

Meanwhile, the GN has hired David Ramsden, a veteran bureaucrat with the Government of the Northwest Territories, to serve as deputy minister of Nunavut’s Department of Health and Social Services until a nation-wide head-hunting effort turns up somebody willing to do the job permanently.

Ramsden worked for the GNWT in the 1990s as its deputy minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, and as deputy minister of Health and Social Services.

Bernie Blais, who was appointed deputy minister of Nunavut’s health department on July 9, 2003, told the GN last fall that he’s quitting his job. Blais leaves for good next week, on Jan. 27.

The GN hired Caldwell and Partners, a large executive head-hunting firm, to find a permanent deputy minister for its health department. That process could take up to six months.

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