Finding a physician in Highlands East 0
Highlands East councillors continue to seek a physician for the medical centre in Wilberforce.
Nancy Pelletier of the Community Care Access Centre was in council chambers on Oct. 9 to talk about Health Care Connect, a joint program between the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association.
“It’s a voluntary program for physicians,” Pelletier said, explaining that patients without a doctor can sign up by phone or on the Internet. “In some areas, physicians are looking for physicians and in other areas, that’s not a problem.”
One catch is that to register for the program, patients need to de-roster from their current physician if they have one.
Many people in Highlands East have doctors in either Bancroft or Haliburton.
Pelletier suggested that patients talk to their physicians, ask them to de-roster them but to continue to see them until such time Health Care Connect might bring a physician to Wilberforce.
Their doctors would continue to get paid, but just bill OHIP in a different way.
There is no guarantee that a physician would set up shop in the village’s medical centre.
“I would go through my list and find people [in the Wilberforce catchment area], but I would need the physician to say to me first, ‘help find me patients in Wilberforce.’”
Cheryl Kennedy of the Haliburton Family Health Team was also at the meeting and said the team was aware of the facility now available.
There are physicians and nurse practitioners who have visited the community in the past and who are willing to continue to do so, Kennedy said.
However, she wasn’t sure there was enough demand in the area for an incoming physician to set up a permanent practice.
“He would have to know and feel comfortable there was a patient load out here,” she said.
Peter Fredericks of the the local physician recruitment effort said a survey about physician need was going to be issued “so we can get those numbers to the Family Health Team.”
For more information or to sign up for Health Care Connect, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/healthcareconnect/public/.