BC to add more Rural Ambulance Services

Tom Fletcher – BC Local News

posted Sep 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM

WHISTLER – The B.C. health ministry is aiming to add up to 80 rural ambulance paramedic positions in small communities by combining their duties with local care facilities.

Health Minister Terry Lake said the approach to maintain rural ambulance service has been tried for several years, but was hampered by restrictions in the paramedics’ union contract. New contract terms have been worked out with the B.C. Ambulance Service and the ministry is working with other health care representatives to develop what he calls “community para-medicine.”

“There are good examples of this in Ontario and other jurisdictions where there are too few calls to have a full-time paramedic,” Lake said in an interview at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this week.

“When that full-time paramedic is not on a call, they can be doing things like helping with services in long-term residential care homes,” Lake said. “They can be going into homes of people who are on home health support, and checking in with the patients – these are often elderly people who have difficulty getting around – and make sure they’re adhering to their treatment plan, that their needs are being met, and if necessary make a recommendation that they should have an in-patient visit at the hospital or with a health care provider.”

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Age-friendly Grants Available from BC Gov’t

September 23, 2014

Health Minister Terry Lake

WHISTLER – The BC government is committing $500,000 for 2015 Age-friendly Community Planning and Project grants to help local governments establish or continue projects and community planning that supports healthy, active seniors.

“This successful grant program is a partnership between the provincial government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and allows local governments to access grants of up to $20, 000 to support the needs of our older residents,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “To date, over 125 local governments in all areas of B.C. have received at least one grant and over 200 projects have been funded.”

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UBC plans rural doctor program in West Kootenay

Nelson NEWS
posted Sep 11, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Note by SOHC: Princeton would not be included in the following program. However work is underway for a program with UBCO that will bring medical residents to Penticton and the South Okanagan. Research has shown that students from rural areas will often settle down and practice in rural areas.

An expansion to the University of BC’s medical residency program will bring four postgraduate students per year to the West Kootenay/Boundary to train as family practitioners.

The program, expected to begin next July, is in addition to an existing clinical clerkship that now sees four undergrads spend the third year of their studies in Nelson or Trail.

“The hope is many will choose to stay here,” said Dr. Willa Henry, director of UBC’s family medicine postgraduate program. “We know from research that the chances of them doing that is much higher if they’re in a community for postgrad training. I have no doubt it’s going to be a success.”

Henry said expanding the program to this area was an easy decision, helped by the “dedication and enthusiasm” shown by local physicians to training new doctors.

Although students will be placed at hospitals in Trail and Nelson, they are expected to move around the entire region for more rural experiences. After two years, they will write their certification exams.

UBC site director Dr. Cheryl Hume said the program’s expansion dovetails with Selkirk College’s recently-launched pre-medicine program and will give people from rural areas the chance to return home to train.

“That will help draw students in, allow them to get into the UBC medical training program, and then have the option of coming back to the area for undergraduate and postgraduate training,” she said. “It enhances access to physician services and is going to be a tremendous boost for physician recruitment.”
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IH Community Update – Sept. 12, 2014

Cascade Medical Centre – Princeton

The Cascade Medical Centre is currently undergoing renovations to create a fifth exam room in the facility. This additional room will help increase the centre’s efficiency to ensure the delivery of quality health care to the region.
The renovations began in early September and are expected to be complete sometime in October. Interior Health apologizes for any inconvenience during the renovation period and offers our sincere thanks for the region’s support.

If you have any concerns regarding the renovations, please call Susan Brown, Community Integrated Health Services Administrator at (250) 770-3559.

The Cascade Medical Centre is piloting a Rapid Access Clinics program. This new program provides patients with quick access to a physician or nurse practitioner for appointments that include: lab results, injections, prescription refills (no narcotics), X-ray results, or general illness (ear infections, throat swabs, urinary tract infections, etc.). The program is aimed at improving efficiency and allowing for faster access to family practitioners, similar to a walk-in clinic.

Also called Rapid Access Appointments, this program has been used in private family practice settings to help health care professionals tailor their services, and their time, to the unique needs of patients. While some patients require only brief check-ups, others with more complex health needs may require longer appointments.

Please note: regular appointments are still available and can still be made by calling the centre’s main line at (250) 295-4482.

Interior Health would like to advise the residents of Princeton and surrounding communities that Viola Brown, Nurse Practitioner (covering for Tanya Ter Keurs’s patients only) will be starting at the Cascade Medical Centre on Sept. 29, 2014 and will be available for appointments. Continue reading

Five things Canadians get wrong about the health system

Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 05 2014, 10:49 AM EDT
Last updated Friday, Sep. 05 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

A recent court challenge before the British Columbia Supreme Court threatened to change the rules of the game for the Canadian health care system – should the challenge have made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada and found success there. Dr. Brian Day of The Cambie Surgeries Corporation is contesting the ban against ‘extra billing’ for privately provided health services, and for the right of doctors to work simultaneously in both the public and private health spheres.
However, just last week the judge permitted an adjournment of the case to March of next year to allow those involved the possibility to resolve some of the issues before the court – so it is not likely to be the game changer that some Canadians hoped and many Canadians feared.
One thing is certain: pundits from the left and right are sure to weigh in further on the issue, and there are other similar court challenges popping up in other provinces.
How our health system should be reformed, and in what measures, is nothing short of a national pastime in Canada. Too bad many get the facts wrong. Here are a few basics everyone should know.
1. Doctors are self-employed, not government employees
Canada has a publicly funded health care system, but the vast majority of doctors do not work for the government. A patient is free to choose which doctor they wish to visit, and they are entitled to essential physician health services without charge. Doctors are self-employed, which means they can determine their own hours and work location, and they are responsible for paying their employees, for office space and other overhead expenses. Doctors earn money by billing their provincial government for the services they provide to patients.
The Canadian health system is often referred to as “socialized” medicine, but it is actually a mix of private providers billing governments for publicly funded services. Continue reading