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Lowest Bidder Fuels Patient Transfer Business in Ontario!

April 26, 2012

Toronto, ON - The Ontario Government has put the patient transfer business out to the broker system and quality of service loses to the lowest bidder!

"The system in use today is badly flawed and it's to the point of near collapse," explained IAMAW District Lodge 78 Business Representative Ralph Martin. "The Ontario Ombudsman and the Liberal government have identified major concerns in the industry with regards to safety for the public and have failed to deliver on their promise of regulation to the industry."

"There are no standards for this industry," says Martin. "There are no training standards for operators or attendants, hospitals do not always offer patient precautions to attendants and there are no vehicle standards. An operator can use virtually any vehicle from a mini-van to a station wagon."

Hospitals pay for non-ambulatory transfer services out of their operating budgets, which forces them to seek the lowest bidder. "This leaves the door wide open to conflicts of interest," explained Martin. "Some of the procurement companies are owned by hospitals and some of the hospital's staff are also employees of the procurement companies, so you can see where this is going."

Complicating matters is the broker system that has developed. Much like the taxi business in Toronto, a company leases its vehicle to a broker who then becomes responsible for operational costs of the vehicle including wages paid to the driver and the attendant. "So just like a cab driver, a broker must make 8 to 10 calls each day with his vehicle," says Martin. "It means some operators work 14 to 16 hour days and we have laws against vehicle operators working that long. So you have to ask yourself, is the patient at risk just so a broker can make a living. It's a formula for failure."

Due to the lowest bidder process in Ontario, three of the largest companies in the patient transfer business have gone bankrupt or filed for creditor protection in the past 15 months. "As a representative of more than five hundred patient transfer workers, the IAMAW is demanding the province makes good on its promise to regulate the industry," said Martin.

For more information contact:
Ralph Martin
Business Representative
IAM District Lodge 78
Phone: 416-225-9003
Cell: 905-869-6520

Bill Trbovich
Director of Communications
Phone: 416-386-1789
Cell: 416-735-9765

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