For Immediate Release
January 18, 2001

Norm McLeod
Manager, Transhelp
Region of Peel
905-791-1015, Ext. 3001


(Brampton) - The Region of Peel, in partnership with the three Peel-based hospitals, is preparing to launch a pilot brokerage for non-urgent patient transfers, said a report presented to Regional Council today.

The brokerage will use Transhelp's resources to support the administration, call-taking and scheduling of trips booked by hospital staff as part of a pilot set to begin April 2, 2001.

"The Region is excited about offering Transhelp's expertise and technical resources to administer the brokerage," said Regional Chair Emil Kolb. "Our experience to date has convinced all the parties of the value and importance of this brokerage to effective health care."

The purpose of the brokerage is to improve services to patients, reduce costs to hospitals and taxpayers and reduce reliance on ambulances for non-emergency trips. With this pilot project in place, the hospital staff will be able to determine the appropriate transportation for each patient. Based on the patient's condition, transfers may be provided by a range of private, public and non-profit organizations, including stretcher vans, accessible taxis and volunteer drivers.

"Among many benefits, the brokerage with Transhelp will reduce backlog in emergency rooms by timely freeing of hospital beds and provide a more timely service to patients," Kolb said.

Total Regional commitment to the brokerage is $500,000 over two years. The hospitals will seek sustainable funding from the Ministry of Health.

In a letter to the Minister of Health, Chair Kolb supported the hospitals in their pursuit of funding and invited the Ministry to join the partnership for review of the progress and findings to date. The ultimate goal of the pilot project is to establish a self-sustaining brokerage, which will be funded by the hospitals.

"The brokerage will enable hospital staff to call just one number, making their transportation decisions more cost-efficient," said Norm McLeod, Manager of Transhelp. "This model will make the most of community resources to reduce the use of ambulances for routine patient transfers."

The Region of Peel Non-Urgent Transportation Working Group that developed the model included Regional staff from Transhelp and Ambulance and Emergency Programs, the William Osler Health Centre, Trillium Health Centre, Credit Valley Hospital, the District Health Council, Community Care Access Centre, and Central Ambulance Communication Services.

The three hospitals have already started to reduce ambulance use by signing a joint contract for private stretcher services. They have reduced non-urgent calls for ambulances by more than 30 per cent.

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Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail

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