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Second My Health Team given green light in Interlake-Eastern health region
Ashern/Hodgson area residents to benefit from additional health-care services and better coordination starting in the fall

People living in the Ashern/Hodgson area will soon have access to primary health care in a more consistent and coordinated way, thanks to the addition of a second My Health Team in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority. The initiative involves several local community-based health partners, area physicians and more extensive partnerships with Indigenous communities. It’s the second My Health Team site in the region—the first launched in Selkirk in November 2019.

Primary health care, typically delivered by a team including a doctor or nurse practitioner, is the first place people go for day-to-day health concerns. It’s a comprehensive approach to health that includes services to address determinants of health like income, housing, education and environment. My Health Teams reflect a formal relationship among local physicians, community organizations and the regional health authority to work together to plan, develop and provide primary health care services for residents. If care providers are not working out of one site together, they are linked online so patient information can be easily shared and accessible for safe patient care. 

“When various types of health-care providers come together through My Health Teams to build upon existing services and share information and resources, Manitobans benefit from more inclusive, coordinated, and patient-centered primary health care,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen. “Expanding My Health Teams means more Manitobans can have their everyday health care needs dealt with closer to home, and it also provides them with better access to specialized care.”

The Ashern/Hodgson Area My Health Team was created by a steering committee comprised of physicians who practice in Ashern and Eriksdale, and health leaders from Pinaymootang Health Centre, Little Saskatchewan First Nation Health Centre, Lake Manitoba First Nation Health Centre, Percy E. Moore Clinic – Ongomiizwin Health Services, the Interlake-Eastern RHA and Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, as well as an Elder supporting and guiding the team.

Dr. Sunu Thomas, an Interlake-Eastern RHA physician and site chief medical officer for Ashern and Eriksdale, noted that the My Health Team will reflect the unique care needs of people in the region.

“It was key for the steering committee to reflect on our personal experiences and review data about the particular health care needs of people—including vulnerable populations—in the area. Through this process, and in working with our partners, we are able propose the right practitioners to add who can provide optimal care and enhance service delivery through the My Health Team,” Dr. Thomas said.

In her role as health director at Pinaymootang First Nation for the past 14 years, Gwen Traverse says she has seen many changes and an evolution to both the Interlake-Eastern health region, and her community within it.

“The My Health Team has been a long time coming,” says Traverse. “It’s a stepping stone in the right direction, and an important initiative that says we are partners in this together, and we are listening to one another. This collaborative approach will enhance the care and services in our area, in a way that takes into account the specific needs in our First Nations community.”

Involving Indigenous health partners in the My Health Teams is in line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action that seek to promote the value of Indigenous health practices and the professionals working in the field. According to Paul Barnard, regional director of primary care with the RHA, Indigenous health partnerships are also an important part of integrating all services a patient might access.

“These extensive partnerships with our Indigenous communities and physicians enable service providers to deliver more integrated care, and also make it easier for people to access that care,” said Barnard. “Patients will spend less time repeating their medical history or arranging appointments, and more time working with care providers to focus on improving their health.”

In addition to physician care, the Ashern/Hodgson My Health Team will provide mental health and substance use support, physiotherapy and chronic disease management, as well as offer traditional Indigenous healing. There will be a focus on connecting people with the care that is relevant to their specific needs to maintain good health. When patients have access to primary health care, not only are they more satisfied with their care; they also experience a reduced need for hospital and emergency department visits.

Recruitment for the Ashern/Hodgson My Health Team’s new care providers is underway, and it is anticipated they will begin accepting patients into the My Health Team in the fall. If you are currently searching for a regular care provider, please contact Family Doctor Finder at 1-866-690-8260. For more information on My Health Teams, visit https://is.gd/MyHealthTeam.

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