Thursday, May 01, 2008

BC To Establish Patient Care Quality Review Boards

Patient Care Quality Review Board Act

Patients with concerns about the quality of their experience in the public health-care system will have access to a new, independent process to address their concerns as a result of legislation introduced today, announced Health Minister George Abbott.

Following through on a commitment outlined in the throne speech, Abbott said the Patient Care Quality Review Board Act will ensure patient complaints are dealt with in a consistent, timely and transparent way across all parts of the public health-care system, including the residential care sector.

“While we know the vast majority of British Columbian patients enjoy safe, high-quality care, we want to ensure that when patients have legitimate concerns, they can have those concerns addressed,” said Abbott. “Independent patient care quality review boards established in each health authority will provide a clear, consistent, timely and transparent process for patients to register complaints about the care they receive from our publicly funded health-care system.”

Currently, each health authority maintains its own client relations office and individualized process to address and resolve patient complaints. Through this legislation, each health authority will be required to create a patient care quality office that will provide for a transparent, accessible and standardized approach to receiving and addressing quality concerns. The offices will register all complaints and track them through the health authority review process to ensure a timely response. And, if patients are dissatisfied with how the patient care quality office in the health authority handled a complaint, they could take their concerns to the patient care quality review boards for an independent review.

“Participants in the Conversation on Health believed transparency and accountability of our public health-care system could be improved through a more robust and accessible complaints process,” continued Abbott. “Not only are we building a better complaints process, we are providing patient care quality review boards with tools to assist government in making real, positive changes in learning how we can improve our health-care system for tomorrow.”

Patient care quality review boards will recommend ideas to the health authorities and the minister to improve the health system as a result of reviewing complaints. The boards will also provide annual reports to the minister on the number and type of complaints received, the timeliness of service and other related information.

“While independent surveys show that British Columbians feel they receive quality health care today, we believe the establishment of this new quality assurance process will make our public health-care system better for the future,” noted Abbott. “The public’s confidence in the quality of our health-care system is important to our government, and this legislation will further strengthen the quality of our world-class health-care system.”

Members of each review board will be appointed from the public by ministerial order. Current employees, executive members, and members of the boards of directors of the health authorities are not eligible to be appointed to the board in their region.


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