THUNDER BAY – Regional – “Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is committed to Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, one of our four strategic directions.” As we strive to help the people of Northwestern Ontario live healthier lives and manage chronic disease, we are pleased to expand important bariatric services,” commented Andrée Robichaud, President and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Improved Prevention at Regional Health Sciences Centre
As a result, improved access to bariatric services for Thunder Bay residents will be achieved as a result of an announcement made in the city today. The effort is a part of the province’s diabetes strategy. The improved program will allow one hundred patients with severe obesity to be treated in a medical/ behavioural treatment program at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Deb Mathews, Ontario’s Minister of Health stated, “Evidence shows that behavioural treatment can be an effective means for combating obesity. The approach Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences is taking with respect to bariatric care not only works to prevent chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it helps contribute to a more cost effective health care system.”
“Excellent healthcare is vital to our growth as a region. This program is a vital tool for patients to help manage their health and I am happy to see our government coming through with funding to help support this important program,” commented Bill Mauro the MPP for Thunder Bay Atikokan.
While bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for morbid obesity, there has been compelling evidence published on the effectiveness of behavioural treatment for obesity. The medical treatment program serves as a support or alternative to surgery.
In the program, patients may be:
- Seeking surgery but require considerable pre-op preparation and management in order to reduce their surgical risk
- Long-term post-operative patients who require intervention and support (this may include previous out of country patients)
- Patients who choose not to go to surgery, and
- Patients who do not qualify for surgery (based on OHIP criteria), yet still require bariatric medical care.
“I am happy to see our government coming forward with more supports towards the bariatric services program in Thunder Bay. Today’s announcement will help address a direct need for patients who suffer from obesity,” states Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North.
- Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is receiving $300,000 towards the bariatric services program.
- As part of Ontario’s Diabetes strategy to prevent, manage, and treat diabetes, the province created a bariatric treatment network which features four Centres of Excellence and four Regional Assessment and Treatment Centres. The program is helping provide treatment for Ontarians close to home, resulting in savings of approximately $10,000 for every bariatric case that would otherwise have been done in the United States.
- In 2009/10, 2,266 patients were approved for out of country bariatric services at a cost of approximately $55,500,000
- Bariatric surgeries in Ontario have increased from 244 in 2007/08 to 2,503 in 2011/12
- Expenditures for out of country bariatric surgery in 2011/12 were less than $12,000