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Emergency Department

Strengthening Primary Care in Northern, Rural & Remote Communities

It’s an exciting new year for our Population Health and Wellness team with funding approval from Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) to participate in the Strengthening Primary Care in Northern, Rural and Remote Communities program. The program is designed to improve access to culturally safe primary care closer to home and meet rural and Indigenous communities’ unique needs. People in these communities often require care closer to home to avoid medical transport and transfers and they tend to have poorer access to primary care compared to those living in larger centers.

HEC funding will purchase point-of-care testing equipment to support diabetes and renal screening in specific rural and Indigenous communities. Areas currently served through the Mobile Clinic and Primary Health Care sites were chosen based on established trusted relationships in these communities. The Population Health and Wellness team is partnering with the Chronic Disease Innovation Centre at Seven Oaks General Hospital in Winnipeg to help guide this new initiative.

Ashley Vandepoele, Manager of PMH Health Services and Co-Chair of the team, said, “We know there are communities in our region facing challenges that have an influence on their health, such as genetics and lifestyle choices, where they are born, grow, live, work and their age. Point-of-care testing is effective in reducing health inequities in these communities. On-the-spot testing is cost-effective, enabling easier and faster diagnosis of conditions of high prevalence and pre-disease risk factors in areas with limited structures such as medical laboratories.”

Prairie Mountain Health is one of 20 teams from across the country invited to participate in the program. PMH will work with other providers and organizations who help deliver primary care services closer to home while sharing and learning from other teams. The HEC program will provide tailored support to help participating teams define goals and plans for improvement that meet the needs of unique communities, patients and providers.

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