North Vancouver’s HealthConnection Clinic lauded for its innovative approach in treating vulnerable patients

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In its most recent national newsletter, the College of Family Physicians of Canada highlights the innovative work of North Vancouver’s HealthConnection Clinic and how it cares for vulnerable patients.

It was one of six sites from across the country to make it into the second issue of the College’s series on Innovation in Primary Care: Caring for Unattached and Marginalized Patients.

Its appearance in the newsletter is timely as HealthConnection celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.

Established in 2013, the clinic is a unique partnership between VCH and the North Shore Division of Family Practice. Its goal when it opened was to improve the care for high-needs, medically complex and vulnerable clients who were unattached, difficult to serve and who had high rates of hospital admissions by providing team-based primary care.

The clinic serves more than 900 patients a year who struggle with multiple health and social issues including mental health, chronic disease and a lack of housing and have served more than 1,200 patients since opening its doors.

The variety of health care professionals from GPs, nurse practitioners to social workers at the clinic are actively involved in the ongoing care of clients to help them manage complex conditions and access social supports such as housing. The clinic also works closely with community agencies on behalf of mutual clients.

Since opening, the clinic has provided access for at least half of the North Shore’s estimated 735 homeless people, reduced the number of ED visits and admissions, and decreased the length of stays.

Highlighted in the College’s article was the clinic’s addition of a team-based learning site for all associated disciplines and the creation of the Complexity Assessment Tool, also known as AMPS (Attachment, Medical, Psychiatric, Social determinants), which is helping improve patient care.

AMPS is an innovative resource that guides primary care clinicians in assessing patients with complex needs and identifying disease-related and other barriers to improved health. Care teams can use this tool to develop a care plan tailored to an individual’s needs, highlighting any additional medical and/or community services required.

For Sujata Connors, Director, Community & Family Health, what is key about HealthConnection is that it has low barrier access, a welcoming, non-judgmental environment and a team approach to care where all who visit feel welcome and safe.

To read the CFPC’s latest newsletter, click here.

Read more about HealthConnection Clinic

Problem solving is hard-wired in for nurse practitioners at HealthConnection Clinic.

Legislation will prohibit payment for blood and plasma collection

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Health Minister Adrian Dix today introduced the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, which will help preserve the integrity of Canada’s public blood and plasma collection system by preventing payment for blood and plasma collection in British Columbia.

“Our voluntary blood donation system is an integral resource that helps saves lives thanks to people who graciously donate,” said Dix. “We are taking action to prevent payment for blood and plasma collection, and to make sure that the donations people give benefit people in our province and Canada.”

No paid plasma collection clinics are operating in British Columbia. This legislation is meant to prevent such operations from being established, by making it illegal to pay, offer to pay, or advertise that they will pay someone for blood or plasma. This is similar to legislation in Alberta, Ontario and Québec.

Currently in Canada, there are private for-profit organizations paying individuals for plasma, and then selling that plasma on the global market. By preventing these businesses from operating in B.C., this legislation will ensure that blood and plasma collected in B.C. stay as part of the national supply system run by Canadian Blood Services (CBS). As the national blood and plasma supplier, CBS is exempt from the legislation, as are the provincial government and medical researchers.


“This is an issue that is very important to me and people around B.C.,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government stands with public health care, and that means keeping the blood supply system a public resource.” Continue reading

Summary on the Health Sciences Association Conference – April 2018

April 24, 2018
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Edward Staples
President of SOHC (Support Our Health Care) and
BC Rural Health Network Lead.

Vancouver Hyatt Regency April 13, 2018

Achieving High-Performing Primary and Community Care: the Critical Role of Health Science Professions

The conference opened with a welcome from Val Avery, Health Sciences Association (HSA) President and a First Nations Welcome from Coast Salish Elder Roberta Price.

The keynote speaker was the Honourable Judy Darcy, BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. She gave a brief overview of her first 9 months in office and made the following points:

Judy Darcy

• collaboration and team building on the “front lines” is critically important to address the opioid crisis

• addressing the crisis will require “all hands on deck”

• the focus of the Ministry is on child and youth prevention, First Nations, and the high rate of death associated with substance use

  • most people who die from opioid overdose die alone
  • 3 out of 4 are male between the age of 30 and 59
  • 1 in 10 are indigenous

• problems with the current system:
• “no coordination of services”
• gaps in the service – fragmentation  lack of a team approach
• the goal is to develop an “ask once” system that will take you where you need to go
• addressing the problem by building a better system; funding for:
• training
• naloxone dispersal
• establishing overdose prevention sites
• establishing designated teams in each Health Authority
• recognizing that parents are often the “first responders”
• province wide coverage by “robust, interdisciplinary teams”
• addressing the social determinants of health
• making connections

Minister Darcy closed her remarks by recognizing the valuable work being done by the HSA and asked for advice and direction from HSA members on how to “close the gaps”.

Andrew Longhurst
Andrew Longhurst, HSA Researcher and Policy Analyst, was the next speaker who outlined the aim of the conference and made the case for change in achieving a system of high-performing primary and community care in BC. Continue reading

A welcome second chance for BC medicare protection

Seth Klein

FILE PHOTO – Seth Klein is B.C. director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. PNG

This article points out a few aspects that are not often talked about.

For every dollar of extra billing by a private for profit clinic, the federal government claws back an equal amount from its cash transfers. In 2015-16, that amount was $15.9 million, enough for 53,000 MRIs.

So effectively, we all pay for the extra billing.

(Cash transfers are the payments that every province and Territory receives from the Federal government for health care.)

B.C. is the only province that Ottawa has repeatedly fined for unlawful extra billing.

I believe that there is a misconception that private companies will be forced to close; this is incorrect, they can continue to operate as long as they follow the law.