905 residents are not lacking in health care

TheStar.com – Opinion/letter – 905 residents are not lacking in health care
December 11, 2008

Re:Address the 905 gap, Editorial Dec. 3

As CEO of the University Health Network (comprised of Toronto Western, Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals) one of my jobs is to understand who we are serving in our clinics, operating rooms and treatment areas. We frequently analyze our “market share” (where our patients live) by using postal code analysis from our patient records. Using this technique we recognize that we actually treat more patients from the “905 belt” (47 per cent of patients in 2006/7) than from the 416 area code (41 per cent). The remaining 12 per cent come from the rest of Canada.

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers report on hospital funding ignores the fact that hospitals located in the 416 region provide more care to 905 patients. Yet the authors still make the case that 905 hospitals need more funding. The authors left the Toronto hospitals entirely out of their calculations when they estimated the care received by 905 residents. The reason? The authors do not know where 905 patients go to get their care. They would need access to our detailed patient-specific records to get that information. Thus it is entirely misleading to suggest that 905 residents have insufficient care (as PWC suggests) without measuring the amount of hospital care 905 residents receive in Toronto.

People in the 905 belt have access to the best health care in the world – both in their local community hospitals for less acute treatment and in the University of Toronto teaching hospitals that are world leaders in providing complex care.

Dr. Robert Bell, President and CEO, University Health Network

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