Rainbow Valley Community Health Centre (RVCHC) in Killaloe is now able to provide primary health care services five days a week, thanks to a $250,000 injection of provincial funding. RVCHC team members (above) include: (back row) Shirley Hill RN, Pat Biernaskie Admin/clerical, Keri MacFarlane MSW, Julie Howard Admin/clerical (front row) Heidi Krebsz NP, Jessica Valentine NP and Erica Atfield RN. Missing from photo are Dr. Denise Coulas, Derek Frew NP and Noemie Gatien Admin/clerical. (Photo submitted)
With this new funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, RVCHC will increase its operations from three to five days a week and begin to take on additional patients and clients in need of primary care. RVCHC works under the umbrella of St. Francis Memorial Hospital (SFMH) in Barry’s Bay, providing a wide range of local health services in partnership with other community organizations. Its catchment area includes the townships of Killaloe, Hagarty & Richards, North Algona / Wilberforce, Madawaska Valley, and Brudenell, Lyndoch & Raglan, in the western region of South Renfrew County.
“This funding is excellent news for the whole region of South Renfrew County,” said Randy Penney, President and CEO of SFMH in Barry’s Bay, as well as Renfrew Victoria Hospital in Renfrew. “A shortage of family physicians in this area has left many residents without primary health care. Not only will more patients in the RVCHC catchment area have access to primary care, but the expanded hours are good news for the community at large. This has the potential of reducing emergency room visits at SFMH as RVCHC takes on new clients.”
“The new patients to receive primary health care at RVCHC will be taken from the Health Care Connect waiting list,” said Greg McLeod, Chief Operating Officer at SFMH and RVCHC.
McLeod points out those residents within the RVCHC catchment area face several health challenges that make access to primary health care services within their community, vital to their well-being. “Rural isolation, lack of public transit, low income and a large proportion of seniors with multiple health issues, increase health risks for these residents,” McLeod said. “By providing health services locally, we can reduce stress for our clients, focus on prevention and improve health outcomes, which will reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.”
McLeod noted that the new funding will extend working hours for staff at RVCHC and increase staff retention. “Physician recruitment in this area is challenging,” McLeod added. “However, we have been lucky enough to recruit an additional nurse practitioner to join the team and they can work within the full scope of practice with limited support from a physician in a team-based environment.”
“The new funding will be used to pay the salaries of new staff,” said Joanne Pecarskie, RVCHC Manager of Health Services. “I’m happy to say we have been very fortunate to recruit skilled new staff to join our dedicated, caring team and now have Nurse Practitioners, Social Worker, a Registered Nurse and clerical support staff at RVCHC five days a week.”
“We are working closely with Health Care Connect, to bring on new clients in an efficient and sustainable manner,” says Pecarskie. “Clients who are registered with Health Care Connect will be contacted by that service directly and advised on how to proceed. It does take longer for initial visits in order to get clear and detailed histories, so new patients and clients will be phased in along with existing clients.”
If you do not have a family physician or Nurse Practitioner, and have not already registered with Health Care Connect, please call: 1-866-532-3161
Pecarskie,J. (2020,Feb.12) Community Health Centre in Killaloe Now Open Five Days a Week [media release]