Review leads to immediate MRI for 11 Eastern Health patients

Andrew Robinson
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Eastern Health implementing new priority system for MRI treatments

Dr. Oscar Howell, vice-president of medical services and diagnostic health for Eastern Health, and Vickie Kaminski, President and CEO of Eastern Health, address members of the media today in St. John's. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

An internal review by Eastern Health has identified 11 people who immediately required magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations.

The review looked at 330 requests for urgent MRIs received by Eastern Health up to Jan. 16. According to the regional health authority, all 11 patients have since received MRIs.

The internal review was conducted after a patient made her concerns public earlier this year regarding the wait time for her MRI exam. She was initially scheduled to have an MRI in June, but has since received the MRI.

“The wait time for that particular individual was not acceptable considering the individual circumstances,” said Vickie Kaminski, President and CEO of Eastern Health. “As such, it became clear that we had to look at our wait times and how we prioritize MRI exams to ensure the most urgent patients are seen within an appropriate timeframe.”

Priority one cases are considered urgent and should take 0-14 days to receive an MRI. Because of the review, Eastern Health is now looking to implement a new priority classification system involving four levels.

The system has already been endorsed by physicians working for Eastern Health and is expected to be implemented by the time a third MRI unit is installed in St. John’s at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.

Dr. Oscar Howell, vice-president of medical services and diagnostic health for Eastern Health, said it expects to have the MRI operational in May.

For more on this story, read Friday’s edition of The Telegram.

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Recent comments

  • J
    February 17, 2012 - 06:47

    I am an advocate for a Two Tier healthcare system personally. That said, if we are going to be saddled with a public funded healthcare system with limited resources then we should let Engineers run the system rather than Doctors or Business people. Engineers are trained to maximize efficiency. What to you prefer - a doctor with good bedside manner who will put you on a 18 month waitlist for an MRI or an Engineer who maybe too blunt for polite company but can get you an MRI in less than a month. However, as some people have rightly noted in these comments - run the machines 24/7, or atleast 24/5. That doesn't seem like rocket science to me.

  • surgery patient
    February 17, 2012 - 02:32

    While you are at it Vicki, allow fam doctors to order MRI's as in othet prov's. After waiting 3 yrs for a first MRI that was screwed up, I emptied out bank acct and went to US. I had an urgent surgery there where I totally broke the bank but never had a choice waiting on the system here which said they couldn't help me anyway. Altho surgeons down there could not beleve docs here could not do it. My fam doc then sent me to specialist for MRI surgeons in US were awaiting post surgery. That took over 1.5 yrs to see specialist. Then another 6 mos for MRI. Rediculous!! After surgery and before. I'm so disgusted with these people that I will never again believe a word they say. They'll never get it right from all the dysfunction. So I've lived the nightmare. MCP never reimbursed me for surgery but did Mr. Williams. Haha You know where the money is going. To the usual people who don't need it.

  • Darren
    February 16, 2012 - 14:08

    Could not agree more Wayne. Why not make shift work requirements for staff levels. While not MRI, I know of employees making almost double salary when OT and On-Call rates are worked in. Specifically referring to ultrasound techs. Before some of you start, I am not bashing those people. However, the extra money that is being wasted on OT and On call could be augmented with a few extra dollars to truely make our system 27/7. If I had a cancer problem, heart or any other potentially fatal condition (and God knows I will end up with one of them) I would not care if I obtained my medical care at 4 in the afternoon or 4 in the morning. I have no idea why this seems to get very little attention. We have Nurses, LPN and many others who work 24/7, why not those working in MRI, X-Ray and other areas??????????

    • mom
      February 16, 2012 - 18:13

      Don't forget these tests have to be read by a radiologist. Not all radiologist in the province are able to read these exams , and they can only work so many hours a day too. So it is just not a matter of having extra techs work 24/7 you need radiologist, extra typing staff, registration staff etc.

  • MBC
    February 16, 2012 - 13:33

    I can't believe that there was no MRI priority system in place. They are years behind on how to manage the MRI system. How about all other treatments, do they have a priority system, which is basic. I am discussed with the management of Eastern Health. They learn how to manage from callers on open line because they are not trained or educated to manage this organization. I understand why Danny Williams said, " that crowd should be shot !" Dunderdale should have a complete review of management capabilities from the top down. At $400,000.00 as year the CEO should be able to manage better than this.

  • wayne
    February 16, 2012 - 12:52

    It would be so simple to reduce or eliminate the wait time for MRI or other diagnostic procedures. Run the machines 24 hrs a day, seven days a week. Ours sit idle for extended periods of time in the "off hours". I am NOT in favour of a US style health care system.....but I did have an MRI in Ohio once. It was scheduled for week after the doctor's visit but it was at 2:30am. They make a profit of course and run their machines all the time. I disagree with making health care a business run for profit but we should run these machines ALL THE TIME then the waiting period would be very short. All it takes is more staff.

    • jeff
      February 16, 2012 - 13:44

      Wayne I agree with you 100%. It blows my mind that there are people dying while waiting for an MRI and they are only running these multi million dollar machines 6 - 8 hours a day. It is beyond a disgrace. At the cost of them they should be going 24 hours a day. They are all about raising money for more equipment. They dont need any more MRI's at millions each, they simply have to run the ones they have now on a 24 hours shift. That would give us three times the MRI's we are getting now, per machine. three times!!! there would be a zero wait list!! What is the problem here, could someone explain that to me?? The cost of extra salaries?? Well that pales in comparison to the cost of another MRI, and the maintenance of another MRI, plus the real estate it takes up and so on. For the life of me I cannot understand why this equipment is all not running 24 hours round the clock to help our people. We have the equipment, USE IT!!!! Come on Eastern Health, this is not rocket science, why does it seem day after day after day after day it seems to get proven that there is no one there who can think. First and formost there should be someone asking the doctors and nurses thier opinions/suggestions, They are the frontline people. It seems this is like a typical government where the people who sit in their offices and have no idea of what goes on makes all the policies and for some reason, be it their ego, will not ask for help or for suggestions from the people that their managament policies directly affect. It drives me nuts the wastage and the lack of thinking. Please someone at Eastern Health look at things like 24 operation of these machines and lets get our wait lists down and make our health care something to be proud of, not something to be ashamed of. Right now if you have something wrong the first things you do is assess your financial situation to see if you can travel to elsewhere in Canada or the USA to see if you can get health care. It shouldnt be this we. We have the equipment and we certainly have the expertise. Fix it.