New satellite clinic to open in Turner Valley.
Do you visit the Emergency Room at the Oilfields General Hospital sometimes when it’s not really an emergency? Or worse, drive to Okotoks Urgent Care? When a visit to a doctor is really all you need?
Then the expansion of the Foothills Family Medical Centre into a satellite clinic in Turner Valley just might be the answer you’re looking for.
Within the next two weeks, the Diamond Valley Medical Centre will be opening just west of the 4-Way stop in Turner Valley. It will be in the little strip mall between Subway and Pharmacare.
Earlier this month I interviewed Dr Brian Siray at the Foothills Family Medical Centre to learn about this new clinic.
Dr Siray said that the idea came when he was approached by Turner Valley Mayor, Kelly Tuck, asking him what he thought about the idea of Pharmacare opening a walk-in clinic next to them. The Foothills Medical Centre Clinic doctors had some initial concerns about which doctors would be brought in and what the standard of care would be for local residents. Wanting this area to maintain the high-quality care it has been used to, Dr Siray suggested that if Pharmacare were interested then Foothills Family Medical Centre would be willing to work with them to set up a satellite clinic. Working with the owners of Pharmacare, leasing the space, renovating it but still running as an independent clinic.
Dr Siray said, “We don’t want our other Pharmacists to be looking upon it as we are going in cahoots with Pharmacare. We’re just trying to make this something that will work for everyone. Pharmacare are a new business in the community and like all new businesses we want to make them welcome – we don’t want to create any tension; it’s always tricky in a small community because there’s always concerns with competition with businesses. We’re being upfront with them.”
I contacted both Jason at Pharmasave and Ron at Sandul’s and plans for the satellite clinic was something they were unaware of. Currently, both Pharmacies offer free daily delivery service to both towns and Pharmasave offer a phone app that allows you to send your prescription to them from your phone and then have it delivered to your home.
Continuity of care
Dr Siray went on to describe his vision of the clinic. Mornings would probably be by appointment, booked through the existing clinic and afternoons would be drop-in with no appointments necessary.
Five or six of their doctors would be available on a rotating basis of one doctor per day, working up to perhaps two doctors at the satellite clinic. There will also be a support staff member there to assist the doctors and to chaperone examinations when necessary.
There will be four examination rooms in the new clinic to accommodate this.
He envisions the clinic to be open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with extended hours on Thursday and Friday evenings, the same as the existing clinic.
When asked about plans for additional doctors being hired, Dr Siray said that with Dr Congden retiring next year there would obviously be an additional doctor to replace her and perhaps two more physicians hired over the next five years.
Alberta Health is trying to work towards the goal of every Albertan having a family physician and this would be a step towards that goal. It will also alleviate some of the costs currently incurred by the Health Care system as patients will no longer have to go the Emergency or Urgent Care, which has a higher cost per visit than a clinic visit, for technically, non-emergency situations.
Computers at the satellite clinic will be on the same network as the clinic in Black Diamond so patient information and history will be available.
Having a personal family physician means there is a better chance of you being taken care of and less need for hospitalization with more emphasis on preventative medicine.
A drop-in system would have less waiting times than the Emergency Department for patients.
There will be no incoming phone lines at the new clinic allowing for a more streamlined scheduling system for appointments at the main clinic in Black Diamond. Patients will be offered times at either clinic based on availability and their preference. If a patient wants to see their own doctor and (s)he is at the Turner Valley clinic on a particular day they have the option of booking to see him or her there or taking advantage of the drop-in system times.
Same day appointments are the goal for both clinics.
The satellite clinic will ease the space crunch currently being experienced at the Black Diamond clinic as they are reaching capacity.