Health Team Collaboration to Improve Access to Primary Care

Published on: 2024/03/13 - in News

In a joint initiative, the City of Kingston and the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Ontario Health Team (FLA OHT) are urging residents without a primary care provider to enlist in Health Care Connect, Ontario’s system designed to link individuals with family doctors or nurse practitioners.

Dr. Kim Morrisson, Executive Lead of FLA OHT, stressed the importance of this registration process: “We are working to ensure every single person in our region has access to the care they need to achieve their best health. We recognize that right now not everyone has a primary care provider, but we need to know who you are. Registering with Health Care Connect will allow us to understand our region’s true needs.”

It is estimated that 30,000 residents across the FLA region, representing about 10% of its population, are currently without a primary care provider. Yet, only a fraction of these individuals have registered with Health Care Connect, a crucial step toward quantifying and addressing the region’s health care demands.

In response to these needs, the FLA OHT is leveraging a $4 million provincial investment to establish a new Health Home in Kingston. This facility aims to centralize access to comprehensive health care and wellness services, with Health Care Connect playing a pivotal role in enrolling individuals into this innovative model.

To bolster these efforts, the City of Kingston is actively engaged in attracting more primary care providers to the area as part of its Physician Recruitment Strategy, which includes various programs and initiatives designed to appeal to medical professionals.

Craig Desjardins, Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships at the City, elaborated on these efforts: “Since 2022, we’ve been working on various recruitment efforts to attract family physicians to the region, including incentives and relocation support. City Council has stepped up to call on the province to actively work with communities to increase access to primary care.”

The ultimate goal of encouraging registration with Health Care Connect, according to Desjardins, is not only to facilitate the recruitment of more family doctors and nurse practitioners to Kingston but also to establish an equitable and systematic process for accessing primary care.

Health Care Connect, operated by the provincial government, plays a critical role in monitoring the availability of primary care providers and facilitating connections between residents and health care professionals. Residents can sign up voluntarily, either online or by phone, and will be placed on a local waitlist. A dedicated nurse, known as the Care Connecter, will assist in finding a suitable primary care provider for each registered individual.

For more information on how to join Health Care Connect or to explore available family doctor positions and locums, visit the FLA OHT website.

Health Care Connect helps unattached people find a care provider

Health Care Connect is a provincially administered government agency that helps track primary care provider capacity and helps connect people to a primary care provider.

Residents voluntarily sign up online or by phone. Once registered on Health Care Connect, residents will be added to their local waitlist for a primary care provider. A nurse – the Care Connecter – will be assigned to help find a primary care provider based on each person’s situation.

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