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Publication of the New Brunswick Health System Report Card 2013

Above average resources per population, average performance and below average health status …. Are we using our resources effectively?
December 17, 2013

Moncton, NB (NBHC) – The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) is releasing its fourth Health System Report Card, an important tool that measures the quality of health services being delivered in the province. This tool provides an overall appreciation of how New Brunswick fares compared to other provincial jurisdictions.

The Report Card produces letter grades, very similar to how a school report card would, according to the six dimensions of quality the NBHC reports on: Accessibility, Appropriateness, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Safety and Equity. An overall grade is calculated for each dimension from a combination of relevant indicators. A seven letter scale is created, from “F” to “A+”, using the best score in the country as an A+ and the worst as an F.

“For the fourth year in a row, the health system in the province receives a “C” grade,” says NBHC CEO Stéphane Robichaud. “Although the health system has continuously received an overall “C” grade, the subcomponent health sectors and quality dimensions witnessed an oscillation of performance with most dimensions and sectors fluctuating between “B”, “C”, and “D” grades.” This fluctuation may represent a symptom of lack of comprehensive and integrated system planning”.

Accessibility maintains a “C” grade. Despite improvements in access to some surgeries, and to immediate primary care, access to routine or on-going care seems to be trending in the wrong direction, the majority of indicators are scoring a “C” grade with the exception of access to prescription drugs scoring an “E” grade with respect to average household spending on drugs being higher in New Brunswick as compared to other provinces.

Effectiveness drops from “C” grade last year to a “D” grade, the possible lack of comprehensive management of chronic health conditions contributing to high rates of potentially preventable admissions, and hospital readmission rates. Similarly, efficiency demonstrates a similar drop with signs of poorer financial performance as depicted by one of the highest average cost per hospital case (Cost per weighted case).

“Overall, this year’s report addressed the reality that despite having more resources per population on average as compared to Canada, New Brunswick continues to demonstrate an average performance, and New Brunswickers continue to show below Canadian average results on many health outcomes ” says Mr. Robichaud. “The fact that we are not using our resources efficiently and effectively suggests the need to optimize and redistribute the health system resources based on population health needs at the community and health region/zone level. This can enhance quality of health services and improve outcomes”, says Mr. Robichaud.

The complete Report Card is available online at http://www.nbhc.ca/care-experience-2013 The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance, population health and to engage citizens in the improvement of health service quality.

MEDIA CONTACTS New Brunswick Health Council: Manon Arsenault (506)863-7263; manonarsenault@nbhc.ca