US hospital may take as many as 300 spine patients off surgery waiting list in Canada

Carly Behm -  

Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, N.D., plans to admit as many as 300 spine patients who have been waiting a year or more for surgery at Manitoba Shared Health in Canada, CBC News reported Jan. 19.

Shared Health has identified 150-300 spine patients who are healthy enough to travel to Fargo. The Manitoba province may begin sending total joint surgery patients to Fargo as well.

"They're not super-easy cases that we can do as outpatients," Ed Buchel, provincial surgery lead for Manitoba Shared Health, told CBC News. "They're not our super-difficult cases or our very acute cases. They're in the middle, and that's the group that's waiting the longest."

The spine surgery delays are part of a larger backlog of 150,000 cases in the Manitoba province amid COVID-19 case surges. 

Brittany Sachdeva, vice president operations at Sanford Health Fargo, said in a statement emailed to Becker's that the health system is working with Manitolba to bring on patients at a "mutually agreed upon time" but did not provide a timeline. 

"Discussions have been occurring for some time and while we do not have a signed agreement at this point, we are looking forward to finalizing it in the near future," she said.

Note: This article was updated Jan.19 to include a statement from Sanford Health.

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