St. Mary’s to increase cataract procedure volume with off-site partnership

May 20th, 2021

KITCHENER-WATERLOO – MAY 20, 2021 – St. Mary’s General Hospital (SMGH) will increase the volume of cataract procedures done in 2021/22 by means of a unique partnership at a site in Waterloo.

In order to help the community by addressing a backlog in cataract surgeries, St. Mary’s General Hospital (SMGH) is entering into a joint-partnership with TLC Vision, an off-site provider of vision care services, to increase the volume of cataract procedures done in 2021/2022. All care provided through this partnership will be part of the SMGH eye care program and meet the same standards of care.

Several SMGH ophthalmologists currently provide services with TLC Vision, making this a natural partnership and significant opportunity for growth. Though the centre is physically located on the University of Waterloo campus at 200 Columbia St. W., it is not affiliated with the school. The partnership includes an expectation that this location would see a minimum of 500 and as many as 1,000 cases over the next year.

This off-site St. Mary’s program will only receive the least complex cataract surgery patients who are already on a SMGH waiting list. Physicians will direct the choice of location at the time of the initial consultation at SMGH. Accreditation standards will still be met for the level of procedures being done. Additionally, all physicians will be fully credentialed by SMGH and Grand River Hospital standards.

“We are pleased to partner with TLC Vision to support increased access to cataract care in our region,” said SMGH President Lee Fairclough. “Our SMGH ophthalmologists will maintain the same standards of care that our patients are accustomed to at SMGH, while actively addressing the long wait lists and backlog in cases patients are experiencing.”

“Strategically, we believe that this is the future for eye care in the region: to have a model that is a combination of ambulatory/community-based service and in-hospital service for more specialized and complex cataract cases. This partnership will enable a trial of this approach to increasing access to care as we also envision what a comprehensive eye care program for SMGH will include.

“We look forward to seeing this partnership come to fruition and flourish in the coming weeks,” Fairclough said. “We are confident that this will improve the lives of hundreds of our patients who have been waiting for surgery.”

This collaboration will help leverage existing operating rooms that are available to help address the backlog of surgeries that have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. SMGH has the longest waitlist of any hospital in the region for cataract surgeries, with 61 per cent of patients exceeding the target of care. There are some 2,700 patients currently waiting. Fairclough said the partnership with TLC Vision will help address this patient need.

“Increased pressure on the healthcare system especially due to COVID-19, has resulted in long wait times for cataract procedures causing undue difficulties for patients and ophthalmologists alike,” said Marion Marshall, Regional Director at TLC Vision.

“TLC Vision is very pleased to be working with SMGH to help alleviate the backlog of surgeries. Our existing and positive relationships with SMGH ophthalmologists, combined with our state-of-the-art facility makes TLC Vision an ideal partner to help facilitate and accelerate patient access to this much needed treatment.”

Located in the heart of Kitchener, Ontario, St. Mary’s is the second-largest acute care hospital in the St. Joseph’s Health System and a Regional Cardiac Care Centre. We proudly serve the residents of Waterloo, Wellington County, and extend our reach to Dufferin, Grey-Bruce and beyond.

Patrick Moore, Manager, Communications
Office: 519-749-6578 ext. 1501
Mobile: 226-339-1903