WINNIPEG — Manitoba is expanding its out-of-province partnerships with medical facilities to decrease the backlog for hip and knee replacements.
Three new agreements recently signed by the province will see patients who are waiting for surgery able to get care sooner outside of Manitoba.
Big Thunder Orthopedic Associates in northwestern Ontario will launch with six patients as part of a pilot in the coming days. The program is expected to expand to care for as many as 20 to 30 people per month, or around 300 procedures per year, at locations in Dryden, Fort Frances and Kenora.
Manitoba is also extending its existing partnership with Sanford Health in North Dakota, which has provided spinal surgeries to 28 eligible patients in recent months. In September, up to 10 patients per month are expected to travel to the clinic for hip or knee surgeries. Up to 125 procedures may be completed this year, with capacity growing to 250 procedures in 2023-24.
Patients will also be able to travel to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, for hip surgeries. The project is expected to launch later in September, with 100 people expected to receive care this year and another 200 in the following year.
“These new agreements will help more Manitobans regain their mobility, wellness and quality of life,” said Dr. Peter MacDonald, chair of the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force steering committee.
“Manitoba physicians and other members of the patient’s health-care team will work closely with out-of-province providers to ensure a smooth process for patients. This includes the planning leading up to their surgery, as well as an integrated plan for followup care when they return to Manitoba.”
The province will cover the cost of the medical procedure, as well as transportation and accommodation costs. In some situations, a small stipend may be offered for meals.
Eligible people will be identified by their Manitoba health-care provider and then contacted to determine if they wish to travel for care. Manitobans can also now self-identify online if they’re willing to travel for a medical procedure and meet the eligibility criteria.