A committed group of doctors, nurse practitioners, and community members are working together to bring a Community Health Centre (CHC) to the Lower Columbia region. The Lower Columbia CHC Network Working Group is proposing a CHC that includes 3-4 clinics to serve Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale, and RDKB Areas A and B. The proposed CHC will be a community-governed, not-for-profit organization providing patients with access to a team of healthcare providers working together to care for patients of all ages and abilities. Working with Indigenous organizations, settlement services and other groups to provide a culturally-safe space, the CHC will also integrate other health care and social services that focus on the needs of the community.
Dr. Mike Scully, Family Practitioner in Rossland, said, “After researching the health care needs of our communities through a Needs Assessment, and with a letter of support from each of the five municipalities in the Lower Columbia as well as the Regional District, it’s clear that launching a Community Health Centre has the area's full support. As a working group, we believe the introduction of a CHC will increase access and attachment to a primary care provider; helping residents get the care they need, with the right practitioner, when they need it.”
To further develop the CHC model to meet specific community needs, the Working Group is seeking patient input on the initiative through a survey on their website at kootenayclinics.org/survey.
Win Mott, a Trail resident and Chair of the Working Group said, “Recent estimates indicate that 30 per cent of patients in the Lower Columbia region are without a primary care provider. This is unacceptable. The research shows that the team-based, Community Health Centre model works. Not only does it increase access to practitioners, we’re hearing directly from potential physician recruits that it is an attractive option. We’re strongly motivated to move this initiative ahead for all residents in the Lower Columbia and look forward to receiving their feedback.”
Community Health Centres are not a new concept. They have existed in BC for over 50 years and continue to be adopted by communities across the province. In the Lower Columbia, the Working Group has consulted and collaborated over the past three years with the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice, Interior Health, and local municipal leaders to develop a CHC proposal that proactively addresses the needs of the region.
Warfield's Mayor, Frank Marino shares, "A great deal of work has gone into the Lower Columbia CHC Network initiative over the past few years. Now that the project is closer to becoming a reality, it is time to gather input from residents about what is important to them in a future CHC."
For more information on the proposed Lower Columbia Community Health Centre Network, including a copy of the Needs Assessment and our contact information, visit kootenayclinics.org.