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Orazietti Announces Opening of New Family Health Team in the Sault

News Release for local2 sault ste. marie
July 13th, 2012 at 1:14pm

DAVID ORAZIETTIThe province is continuing to increase access to local front-line health care services in Sault Ste. Marie with the official opening of the Baawaating Family Health Team (FHT), which will help provide greater access to primary health care services for local residents, David Orazietti, MPP announced today.

“The opening of the new Baawaating Family Health Team means that residents in the local area will have even greater access to primary care and will benefit from a wider range of family health programs and services, including the Telemedicine Network service,” said Orazietti. “The new Family Health Team will take on over one thousand patients who do not currently have a family doctor, which will further reduce the pressure on our hospital emergency rooms by providing non-emergency care in an out-of-hospital community setting.”

Located in the Batchewana Health and Social Services Building at 210 Gran Street, the Baawaating Family Health Team has a current roster of 450 patients and consists of six staff including a Lead Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Manager, and Social Worker. The health care clinic is designed with a focus on Aboriginal patients, but is open to all residents in the Algoma district. The Team expects to increase its patient roster to 1,300 by November 2012.

“The Baawaating Family Health Team is aiming to reduce the number of Ontarians who do not have a family doctor, and improve chronic disease prevention and management,” said Elizabeth Edgar-Webkamigad, Team Manager of the Baawaating Family Health Team. “This particular Family Health Team has also been designated to serve First Nations patients and one of the benefits of this designation is in the multi-disciplinary approach we are able to provide our First Nations patients with access to Traditional Health Practitioners, which allows Baawaating Family Health Team the opportunity to offer a culturally supportive approach to health care.”

The Baawaating Family Health Team is the second Family Health Team to open its doors in the Sault and area in the last year. The Superior Family Health Team located in Sault Ste. Marie opened in 2011 and has since rostered over 5,300 patients, and will take on an additional 2,000 new patients in the upcoming year. In addition, the Sault’s provincially funded Nurse Practitioner-Led clinic recently announced it was ready to accept its next round of new patients, which are in addition to the 1,000 local patients it has registered since opening in October 2011.

Ontario’s current provincial government has increased health care funding by 65 percent or $19.2 billion since 2003, increased medical school training spaces by 38 percent, increased nurse practitioner training spaces by 135 percent, opened the first new medical school in 30 years, more than doubled the number of training spaces for foreign trained doctors and licensed more new physicians than at any other time in Ontario's history. Since 2003, doctor’s salaries have increased by 85% or $5.1 billion. These investments have resulted in significant local progress that includes attracting 71 physicians since 2002, 48 of which were recruited in the last 5 years and includes 31 specialist doctors and 17 family physicians.

In addition to investments to improve front-line care, the province created the Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention Initiative (NRRRI) and the Postgraduate Return of Service Program, which continues to attract physicians to Sault Ste. Marie. Ontario is also the first province to invest in Nurse Practitioner-led Clinics and the province has created important programs, such as Health Care Connect, to accelerate the process of finding a family doctor.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is also helping deliver more health care professionals to the community while having the added benefit of providing the opportunity for medical students from Sault Ste. Marie to return home and work in the community; over the past twelve months 70 medical learners have spent time in the Sault being trained by our local physicians, nine of which are originally from the community.

Landmark provincial investments that are improving health care in Sault Ste. Marie include:

· $408 million for new Sault Area Hospital including the only stand alone cancer radiation therapy bunker in Northern Ontario

Two new Family Health Teams to expand primary care services in Sault Ste. Marie
$41 million or 45% increase in annual base funding to Sault Area Hospital
$40 million for 256 bed long-term care home
$38 million for new Group Health Centre Contract
$31 million in additional funding to SAH for patient services
$13.2 million to reduce wait times
$8.3 million for Algoma Public Health Building and 50% increase in public health funding
$7.4 million for Home Care and Community Support Services
$3.7 million for new medical equipment
$3 million to reduce Emergency Room Wait Times North Eastern Ontario
$2.8 million to build Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH) and $900,000 for annual operating
$2.2 million for EMS Response Centre
$1.6 million to expand Group Health Centre Willow Avenue site
$1.5 million Nurse Practitioner-led clinic at Sault College
$744,000 for Group Health Centre Vascular Intervention Program (VIP)
$676,899 for local physician incentives and a Chief Nursing Officer at Algoma Public Health
$216,000 annual funding for Group Health Centre/SAH Cardiac Rehabilitation Program


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