​Dear Colleagues,

You may have read the stories about UHN's partnership with Kuwait and our work with international patients.; This shouldn't be news to anyone at UHN as I sent a Straight Talk to everyone when we signed the agreement with Kuwait in the fall. As one of the staunchest supporters of Canada's public health system and the person ultimately responsible to the Board of Trustees for UHN's financial health, I thought I'd take a few moments of your time this morning to talk about what we are doing in Kuwait, why we are working overseas, and why we provide care to international patients. I also want to tell you that I have given the Minister of Health and Long Term Care my personal assurance that no international patient will 'jump a queue' or take the spot in our hospital which could be used to treat an Ontarian.

Our agreement with Kuwait will largely see UHN personnel travelling to Kuwait to assist them in developing their cancer system. The goal is to help them develop their system to the point that no Kuwaiti citizen leaves Kuwait for care; In taking on this project, we know that we will learn a great deal about working in other countries and we will earn revenue which will be applied here to improve our care, increase our capacity to treat Ontarians and further develop some of the technologies we need to succeed. In the first five years of the contract we will see Kuwaiti citizens come to UHN if they have complex problems which cannot be treated in their own system. These treatments will be paid for by the Kuwaiti government, outside of our agreement about working in Kuwait, and the revenue will fund additional procedures for our own citizens. This has always been the case with international patients and the Kuwait patients who come here will be part of our international patient program.

A couple of specific examples:

As you know, our ORs are run from around 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, depending on the length of the cases. We use this time to meet our commitment to our own citizens and we are funded for this care by the provincial government.; International patients will be scheduled in additional time with the additional staff we need to do these surgeries and provide aftercare.; This care will be paid for with the revenues we receive for treating these patients. Every penny of revenue we receive over our costs for treating international patients will be put in our clinical budgets to increase care available for Ontarians.; If the program becomes robust enough, we will be able to provide more OR time and treat more Ontario patients.

With our bone marrow transplantation program we have a fixed number of cases we can do for Ontario patients within the budget we have allocated for the program. The revenues from treating one additional international patient in the program will allow us to do at least one additional Ontario patient and possibly two.; We always open an extra bed for international patients.

We are going to learn many things by working in other parts of the world and we are going to increase our revenue stream which will allow us to continue to be on the cutting edge as a treatment centre for complex cases.; The revenues will also support the systems we need to become a world-leading research hospital and an educational environment which is second to none.

If you have any questions, please send them along and I'll collect the questions and give you the answers in an upcoming edition of UHN News.

 

Bob Bell

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