Operational Review Of MUHC Completed

Published: 22 November 2001

The Board of Directors of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has received the final report of an operational review of its financial, administrative and clinical activities.

"More work needs to be done in a number of areas, but the report is a useful guide to what must be done to make our hospitals more cost efficient," said MUHC Executive Director, Dr. Hugh Scott.

The purpose of the review was to assess where the MUHC could be more efficient, what investments would be required to accomplish this and to determine whether current funding levels are adequate. The broad findings of the Review are as follows:

  • A one time investment by government of between $27-$30million will be required to support the renewal plan.
  • Between $10 and $14 million can be saved on the operational budget over three years assuming appropriate investments.
  • Another $7.5-$15.5 million of potential savings were identified. In some areas further study is required to confirm the feasibility of these savings. In other areas investments will be required to strengthen other health services.
  • Depending on how much of the savings plan can be implemented, the MUHC's revenue shortfall will still be between $6.4-$18.5 million annually.

Key areas of government investment required are in information technology, equipment, human resource supports, and expansion of services in the community. Assuming these investments occur, major areas where savings can be made include materials management, testing laboratories and medical imaging, pharmacy and improvements to patient care models. Some revenue generation opportunities such as food services have also been identified.

The next steps are to put in place a renewal plan, validate outstanding recommendations and establish a realistic schedule, said Dr. Scott. The MUHC Board of Directors will name a joint board and senior management task force to lead the renewal implementation in the next few weeks, he said.
Dr. Scott noted that representatives of the Regié Regionale, the Ministry of Health and Social Services and of Treasury Board participated in the review process. "This partnership must continue in order for us to be able to implement an effective renewal plan," he said.

Dr. Scott says there are many important strengths in MUHC operations such as its comprehensive approach to quality management, integrated information technology plan, interdisciplinary team approach to care and low absentee rates among personnel. "We will build on these strengths to implement our renewal plan."

He also noted a number of issues that still need to be addressed. "For example, the MUHC receives about a million ambulatory visits a year—the highest in Canada. It is unclear that our funding adequately reflects the cost of delivering these services."
He also pointed out that the role of university hospitals within the overall health care network still needs to be defined and the cost of their academic—research and teaching roles needs to be appropriately evaluated and funded.

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