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Thunder Bay Regional executive vice-president Lori Marshall. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre says it's working on bringing down its re-admission rates. 

A national study released Wednesday compared hospitals across the country and found that more patients than average are returning to Thunder Bay Regional after discharge.   

Thunder Bay Regional executive vice-president Lori Marshall said the above-average numbers produced by the Canadian Institute for Health Information are no surprise.

How Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre stacks up:

  • Above-average performance on reducing 30-day mortality after heart attacks (meaning fewer deaths compared to other large community hospitals).
  • Below-average performance on re-admissions within 28 days after a heart attack.
  • Average performance on reducing 30-day mortality after a stroke (meaning number of deaths within the norm among other large community hospitals).
  • Average performance on re-admissions within 28 days of a stroke (meaning readmissions within the norm among other large community hospitals).
  • Below-average performance on re-admissions within 90 days after having hip or knee replacement (meaning readmission rates were higher than the average among other large community hospitals).

"If any of the public go on to our website and look at our quality improvement plan for this year, you'll notice that we've identified re-admissions as being an area that we really want to focus on," Marshall said.

She noted the hospital is looking at why patients are coming back.

"The re-admission rate for us doesn't necessarily represent that there was an issue when the patient went home," Marshall said. "It really represents where they are getting their follow up care."

In northwestern Ontario, many patients don't have family doctors to provide that follow up care. Marshall said many people may be returning to hospital because there are few other options. 

She said solving the problem means boosting other health-care services in the community.

"We're not saying that people shouldn't come back to hospital if it's required," Marshall said. "But we also think that there may be some other alternatives and we'll need to be looking into that more." 

Above average for treating heart attacks

In the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s comparison of hospitals across the country, Thunder Bay’s hospital earned an above-average score for treating heart attacks.

"That gives us a lot of confidence when we look at things like the angioplasty program that we've previously opened," Marshall said. "Moving into cardiac surgery, it gives us the confidence to say that we are a great provider and that we know what we're doing here."