Thousands of surgeries may be cut in Metro Vancouver due to government underfunding, leaked paper
VANCOUVER — Vancouver patients needing neurosurgery, treatment for vascular diseases and other medically necessary procedures can expect to wait longer for care, NDP health critic Adrian Dix said Monday.
Dix said a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority document shows it is considering chopping more than 6,000 surgeries in an effort to make up for a dramatic budgetary shortfall that could reach $200 million.
“This hasn’t been announced by the health authority … but these cuts are coming,” Dix said, citing figures gleaned from a leaked executive summary of “proposed VCH surgical reductions.”
The health authority confirmed the document is genuine, but said it represents ideas only.
“It is a planning document. It has not been approved or implemented,” said spokeswoman Anna Marie D’Angelo.
Dr. Brian Brodie, president of the BC Medical Association, called the proposed surgical cuts “a nightmare.”
“Why would you begin your cost-cutting measures on medically necessary surgery? I just can’t think of a worse place,” Brodie said.
According to the leaked document, Vancouver Coastal — which oversees the budget for Vancouver General and St. Paul’s hospitals, among other health-care facilities — is looking to close nearly a quarter of its operating rooms starting in September and to cut 6,250 surgeries, including 24 per cent of cases scheduled from September to March and 10 per cent of all medically necessary elective procedures this fiscal year.
The plan proposes cutbacks to neurosurgery, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, and 11 other specialized areas.
Is this the future of US medicine under Obamacare? What are your thoughts?