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Vancouver health authority ends contract with private surgery centre over patient-pay issues

September 5, 2018

PAMELA FAYERMAN Updated: August 30, 2018

Vancouver Coastal Health is ending a contract with False Creek Healthcare Centre, and as of next week 115 surgeons and anesthesiologists with privileges at regional public hospitals won’t be able to use the operating rooms at the Vancouver clinic.

Dr. Dean Chittock

Dr. Dean Chittock

A memo to medical staff from a vice-president of Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Dean Chittock, said the health authority “made the decision to repatriate False Creek surgical activity back to the health authorities effective Tuesday, September 4, 2018.”

The change comes a month before new legislation comes into effect imposing harsh penalties on private clinics and physicians where medically necessary services are paid for directly by patients seeking faster treatment. Private clinics have gone to court seeking an injunction to block the bill that will be effective as of Oct. 1. There are dozens of private surgery clinics in B.C. which have always offered three streams of patient service — publicly funded (through health authority contracts), privately funded for expedited service and third-party treatment for agencies like WorkSafeBC and certain patients covered by federal government agencies.

For a few decades, health authorities have been contracting out day surgery cases to private clinics because of over-capacity problems causing long delays in non-emergency, non-urgent surgeries. Last year, Vancouver Coastal Health paid False Creek clinic $1.9 million for a range of operations or other treatments on patients who would otherwise have to wait many months or even years for procedures like hernia repairs. The year before, the private clinic received just under $1 million. In the past three years, Vancouver Coastal Health has contracted with the False Creek clinic for about 3,400 cases.

Other health authorities are not severing contracts with private clinics and health minister Adrian Dix told Postmedia that “a significant role for private surgical clinics” remains, as long as they don’t charge patients for surgeries that are typically publicly funded.  A spokeswoman for Island Health in Victoria said it has contractual arrangements with private surgical facilities “and we have no foreseeable plans to change those contracts.” View Royal Surgical Centre is one of the newest such facilities in B.C. and it has a major contract with Island Health for thousands of surgical cases as well as the provision of colonoscopies. Fraser Health also contracts with private facilities when cases can’t be done quickly enough in public hospitals.

According to sources, the provincial government directed Vancouver Coastal Health to cancel its contract with the False Creek clinic. In a statement, Dix said the False Creek clinic had “issues that it needs to address.” After the NDP was elected last year, audits were done on a few clinics, apparently showing that they were accepting private payments by patients, against rules in the Medicare Protection Act. Read more »

A new physician for Princeton

September 1, 2018

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Dr. Marlin Samuels will be the newest member to the Cascade Medical team. Originally from Paarl in the Western Cape of South Africa, he completed his medical degree at the University of Stellenbosch. Dr. Samuels has experience in rural family medicine and emergency medicine with special interest in internal medicine and infectious disease. Dr. Samuels is an adventurer having worked onboard cruise ships prior to relocating to Canada. He was attracted to Princeton by the surrounding nature and abundance of outdoor activities in the area as well as Princeton’s reputation as an exceptionally kind, caring and welcoming community for new doctors. Dr. Samuels has recently completed the Spring intake of the Practice Ready Assessment Program of BC and will be providing a 3 year return of service in Princeton beginning in late August. We hope that you will warmly welcome Dr. Samuels to our community. 

To get on the waitlist for a family doctor, please stop in at Cascade Medical Centre and fill out our Request for Attachment form and return it to the clinic at your earliest convenience, you can also find a copy on our website at www.cascadeclinic.ca.

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Princeton Health Care Steering Committee Report

August 20, 2018

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July 27, 2018

Submitted by Edward Staples, Princeton Health Care Steering Committee

On Tuesday, July 17 , the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee (PHCSC) held its monthly meeting at Princeton General Hospital. The PHCSC was formed in 2013 to provide a mechanism for Interior Health, the Town of Princeton, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, Cascade Clinic, Princeton General Hospital, and community organizations to work together to support stable, sustainable and accessible health care in Princeton.

This month’s meeting was attended by representatives from the Town of Princeton, Area H (RDOS), Cascade Medical practitioners, Princeton General Hospital staff, Interior Health, BC Ambulance Services, Princeton and District Community Services, Princeton Family Services, RCMP, the Princeton community, and Support Our Health Care (SOHC). The meeting was chaired by Interior Health administrator, Susan Brown.

The following are communication points from the meeting:

  • Jim Bruce is the new Area H (RDOS) representative, replacing Sandra Lawlor who resigned her position on the committee; the Steering Committee thanks Lawlor for her contributions in support of the committee’s activities
  • Jim Bruce made a presentation on issues pertaining to the pharmaceutical needs of new people coming to Princeton (see attached); Dr. Van Der Heide will take the information forward to see about posting on the Cascade Clinic Website (www.cascadeclinic.ca)
  • Dr. Van Der Heide provided information on the waiting list for people wanting attachment to a practitioner; there is an application form available at Cascade Clinic
  • the Princeton Community Paramedicine program provides a bridge to health servicedelivery gaps in the community, identified in collaboration with our local primary care team. Our Community Paramedics have become an integral part of our community- based team of health service providers. People interested in accessing their services can contact the Princeton Home Health Nurse at 250-295-4442.
  • in response to queries from local residents about Princeton’s Alzheimer’s support group, the following information is provided:
    • support for Alzheimer’s caregivers is provided through the Caregiver Support Group run by Jennifer Clement, Home Health Social Worker
    • the group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month giving support for people providing home care to loved ones with declining abilities
    • no referral is necessary; to participate in the group, caregivers can contact Jennifer Clement by phoning 250-295-4464

• the BC Alzheimer’s Society in Penticton would like to start a separate Alzheimer’s support group in Princeton and is looking for volunteer help. If interested, local residents can contact Jennifer Clement at the number above

Letter to the Editor

July 30, 2018

Pharma

Letter to the Editor

Princeton Similkameen Spotlight

William L. Day

11 July 2018

The House Of Commons All-Party Standing Committee on Health has recently endorsed and recommended the implementation of a Canadian Pharmacare Program.

Many currently healthy people are not aware that prescription drugs are covered by our Canada health insurance only while the client is in hospital. Insurance outside the hospi- tal varies greatly among provinces and territories.

For example, the same out-of-hospital cancer treatment can cost you $0 in Nunavut; $3,000 in BC; $20,000 in PEI.

Currently, Canadians pay more for prescription medications than citizens in any other of the 29 wealthy OECD countries except Switzerland and the USA.

More than three million Canadians are under-insured or uninsured for prescription drugs outside approved hospitals.

Researchers have found that overall, 5.5 per cent of respondents across Canada reported they couldn’t take their medications as prescribed because of costs. In B.C., the proportion falling through such cracks in the health system was highest among all provinces and territories, at 8.11 per cent.

Unlike all other industrialized countries, neither the USA nor Canada have established a drug plan that would allow their national governments to negotiate drug prices on behalf of their entire population.

In summary, Canada remains the only industrialized country with universal health insur- ance but no national Pharmacare strategy for its citizens.

The Support Our Health Care Society (SOHC) of Princeton will be doing its best to acquaint Similkameen residents with our collective problem and opportunity. We will be providing information in Princeton at retail outlets and surveying our local public on the issue. We intend to inform our MPs and MLAs of our activities and findings. To date, they have been very receptive. Readers are encouraged to go to the government website to read the original complete document and join the discussion:
https://www.letstalkhealth.ca/pharmacare.

The power to engineer this change lies with us, with Ottawa and our collective Members of Parliament and MLAs. They are listening and waiting for us to signal our support for change.

The Time Has Come.

Yours respectfully,

Bill Day, Vice President, Support Our Health Care Society, Princeton BC

Share your story……

July 26, 2018

If you have you been hospitalized for care outside of your home town, and would like to share your story about your experience of getting back home afterwards, please participate in this study.

Email, contact: research@interiorhealth.ca or

phone: 250-469-7070

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Patients Travelling From Urban Geographies To Rural Hospitals For Procedural Care: A Realist Consideration

July 19, 2018

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Patients Travelling From Urban Geographies To Rural Hospitals For Procedural Care: A Realist Consideration

“One unknown predictor of success, however, will be the willingness of urban surgical patients to travel to rural sites for care. This review explores the question of willingness to travel through a rural lens, reversing the usual scenario of rural patient travel to urban centres.“

http://med-fom-crhr.sites.olt.ubc.ca/…/RER-Scoping-Review-F…

 

 

Dr. Eric Cadesky: B.C. doctors working to improve care for residential-care patients

July 9, 2018

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Updated: June 30, 2018

The Vancouver Sun’s series on seniors’ care in B.C. brings to light challenges in how we care for people who bear the greatest burden of chronic disease. The provincial government has offered solutions such as hiring more care aids, opening additional long-term care beds and increasing support for seniors living at home. Readers should also be aware that B.C.’s medical doctors are working with the provincial government on the Residential Care Initiative.

Through non-profit organizations called Divisions of Family Practice (also funded by Doctors of B.C. and the provincial government), family doctors are creating local, grassroots residential-care solutions that reduce unnecessary hospital transfers, improve care experiences for patients and providers and reduce costs to the system while improving quality of care. All divisions have RCI projects, meaning that 99 per cent of the eligible 30,000 residential-care beds in the province now benefit from RCI work in some way.

Read more »

Coming to Princeton!!!

June 27, 2018
Okanagan Men's Shed

Okanagan Men’s Shed

June 21, 2018

Men living in rural communities are at higher risk for loneliness and social isolation, factors that directly influence their health and wellbeing.  In a one year study, IHLCDP Associate Dr. Nelly Oelke, and her team are teaming up with the Okanagan Men’s Shed Association to deliver and evaluate a mobile Men’s Shed to rural communities in the Southern Okanagan Similkameen.  This project, the first of its kind, will also help to better understand the mental wellbeing needs of men in these rural communities and build capacity for supporting the development of local Men’s Sheds. Men’s Sheds are designed to bring men together in a space where they can connect with other men and participate in a range of activities. Research has shown that Men’s Sheds enhance men’s mental and physical wellbeing and improve quality of life. Other team members include IHLCDP Associate Dr. Carolyn Szostak, Dennis Jasper, and Art Post, President of the Okanagan Men’s Shed Association.  This research is funded by the SSHRC. Funding from the New Horizons program has enabled the Okanagan Men’s Shed Association to build a mobile shed and take it out to rural communities.

Listen to webinar focusing on Men’s Sheds with Dr. Nelly Oelke, Dr. John Oliffe, and Art Post
June 19, 2018 – Men’s Shed presentation

For more information, please visit Okanagan Men’s Shed Association.

Ontario Family GP on the Benefits of Adding a PA to his practice

June 20, 2018

Published on May 9, 2018

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Anne Dang, CCPA
Vice President at Canadian Association of Physician Assistant


What benefit have you noticed since adding PA to your practice?

Dr. Dhalla:  A great benefit of having our PA, Deniece, join us is increased access. We see more patients, perhaps more importantly, the quality of service for each encounter is also enhanced . Patients often present with multiple complaints, we must triage the more important ones, while maintaining a patient centered approach.   With Denice, both access to care and quality have improved. In addition, she adds preventative care aspects to the patients care.

In my 15 years in practice, I realize that good communication is the foundation of great care. We follow guidelines and interpret tests, and implement recommendations. Sometimes, in the routine, we lose focus of the patient’s viewpoint. When we both see or review patients, we can better reframe our (clinician and patient) goals..

With our PA Deniece, we have better access for same day appointments. This reduces unnecessary ER visits, or walk in clinic use and allows early intervention in the course of an illness. More often, patients benefit from reassurance and counselling, along with health education.

As other physicians are retiring in our community, we have been able to take on new patients and provide care for those who would otherwise not have a family physician. In addition, having Deniece in my practice allows some patients to open up a little bit more than they would to a physician directly. Patients have a connection with Deniece and they feel they can confide their health concerns and worries, trusting that she will listen and help them.

Benefits of adding a Physician Assistant to a Family Practice – Deniece O’Leary, PA-C in Canada

How is it determined whether the patient gets to see a PA or MD? Read more »

Family-and-friend caregivers to receive much-needed relief with expanded supports

June 18, 2018

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News Release
Vancouver
Monday, June 18, 2018 11:45 AM

The Ministry of Health is investing $75 million to expand respite care and adult day programs, helping both seniors and their loved ones, announced Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Many B.C. seniors count on their spouses, children and close friends to help them stay at home, and cope and manage chronic conditions,” said Dix. “Caregiving without adequate supports can impact the whole family, particularly a person’s ability to live at home, which is what most seniors and their loved ones want. Giving seniors better options and supporting unpaid caregivers to take time for themselves is a necessity.”
Over the next three years, the Province will improve and strengthen respite services and adult day programs to support seniors and their family-and-friend caregivers. The number of respite beds will be increased, and overnight care at home will be made more accessible. In addition, the number of adult day program spaces will be increased, and the hours of operation will be expanded to provide services on evenings and weekends. As part of the work, health authorities are developing plans to meet localized needs of family-and-friend caregivers and seniors in their regions.

“The August 2017 report from the Office of the Seniors Advocate estimates that 31% of seniors had a primary caregiver in distress,” Dix said. “According to the report, the number of clients accessing adult day programs and the number of hours per client decreased in recent years. Over the past five years, there were also a significant cut in the number of respite beds. Under the direction of Premier Horgan, we are changing direction by expanding respite care and adult day programs. This plan will provide more direct care for seniors and afford family-and-friend caregivers time for themselves to reduce stress and exhaustion.” Read more »

BECOME A MEMBER

To become a member of SOHC, please
email the secretary.
Annual membership is $2.
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SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here