Lower Mainland Health Authorities Issue RFP for Inter-Facility Client Transfers

Vancouver, August 27, 2008 — Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Fraser Health Authority (FHA) and Providence Health Care (PHC) today issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking an alternate service provider for transporting low-acuity patients between health facilities, residential care facilities and community locations. The RFP is part of a province-wide initiative to address the growing demand for this service.
Currently, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) is the primary provider of inter-facility client transfers, transferring over 89,000 clients in the areas served by VCH, FHA and PHC each year. Demand for BCAS’ inter-facility ground transfers now account for almost 30 per cent of all BCAS service calls and are steadily increasing. Many of these clients, such as those being routinely transferred from a residential care home to hospital for tests or dialysis treatment, do not require an ambulance and would be better suited to an alternate service provider.

“The use of alternate service providers will offer clients more timely arrival at scheduled appointments, allow paramedics to better focus on responding to more urgent situations and result in considerable cost savings for each health authority,“ said David Handley, executive director of Business Initiatives and Support Services for VCH, FHA and PHC. “Vancouver Island Health Authority has been successfully using an alternate service provider on the South Island for the past 10 years and we expect that the providers we employ will work out just as well.”

BC Ambulance will remain the provider of pre-hospital (911) ambulance transfers in the Lower Mainland. Clients who require medical monitoring or intervention will still be transferred by BCAS under the supervision of qualified paramedics.

“Our first priority is the safe care of all our patients and residents, so we will only use appropriate means of transferring clients,” said Dr. David Ostrow, vice president of Medical and Clinical Innovation at VCH. “Transporting medically stable clients using alternative transfer providers will translate into more timely care and reduced waits throughout the entire system.”

“Using alternate service providers to transfer clients who aren’t in need of paramedic care or supervision will allow BCAS to better focus our resources on our primary work, emergency 911 calls and critical care transfers,” said BC Ambulance Service executive director Michael Sanderson.

The RFP seeks one or more transportation provider to supply inter-facility ground transfer services with ambulatory, wheelchair and stretcher capability for patients from Pemberton to Boston Bar who do not require medical care during transport. Service will be available Monday to Friday during peak hours and for scheduled after-hours appointments. The service is expected to begin before the end of the year.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Gavin Wilson
Acting Regional Director, Public Affairs, VCH
Media pager: 604-450-7881
Telephone: 604-708-5312