Niverville Open Health is working toward hiring more doctors, as well as acquiring bedside ultrasound machines, a liquid nitrogen gun, and an automated blood pressure machine.
Niverville Health Care Services Inc. President and Board Chair Nathan Dueck says they are looking forward to increasing the tools that local physicians and staff will have access to.
“The benefit of these procurements is for the purpose of making healthcare in the region more accessible, providing our staff and physicians better access to medical equipment that will be done on a more local level. As well to create a stronger regional presence in healthcare in the fastest-growing community in Southern Health.”
Dueck believes these tools will allow doctors to attract an even bigger presence in the province, and make Niverville a more attractive place to work for physicians in the future.
He says when it comes down to accessing healthcare in communities outside of Winnipeg, it's always been a struggle.
“Having these tools allows members of the region to stay and have healthcare provided on a more local level, cut down on travel wait times, and other things like that to provide better services to the whole entire region, and continue to grow our healthcare services in fields and areas that we would like to keep on expanding,” he says. “When it comes down to patient care, the more tools that we have at our disposal, the more services that we can provide to our individuals in the area.”
Usually medical facilities are a social enterprise, but in Niverville’s case, it’s the town’s responsibility to budget for items like these as the town purchased the clinic in 2020.
Mayor Myron Dyck explains this is because when the pandemic hit, they had two founding physicians, Doctors Chris and Mairi Burnett, who approached the town.
“Dr. Chris approached the town cause Dr. Mairi was not in the best of health at that time, and Dr. Chris was concerned that the clinic may not be viable anymore based on how he saw it, so he came to the town and asked for help.”
At that time, they had a discussion about if the doctors would consider the town taking over the clinic, and they agreed on it.
“He thought that based on the work that he had done with the town, and the collaboration that we had done together, that that would be okay,” he says. “So at that point, the town purchased the clinic. And to be honest, with COVID and with that situation, had it not been for the town stepping in, we likely wouldn't have a clinic in our town today.”
Dyck says Dr. Chris and Dr. Mairi have been very instrumental in assisting them in this transition and assisting them in growing.
They have some full-time doctors, and some doctors that work at both Niverville Open Health and other clinics.
“It's to the point where some of these doctors come with ‘it’d be nice if we had this’ because they maybe have this at their clinic in Winnipeg or elsewhere.”
Dyck notes when they purchased the clinic, the agreement was that if there was any profit to be made, it would be put back into investing in the clinic.
“We're in more or less of a break-even, but having said that, we also understand this is a necessary thing for our community. It serves not just Niverville but the region, we have patients from all over.”
They got some help with a strategic plan, and even got to consult with former CEO of Southern Health Kathy McPhail who helped them reorganize and create an Advisory Council.
They don't make any decisions, but give recommendation and direction, as they know the topic of healthcare better than council. And from that, council can take that advice and look to make decisions.
Dyck says the advisory council made a list of items in order of priority.
“And so based on that, procurement of bedside ultrasound machines, liquid nitrogen gun, and an automated blood pressure machine are three items that council will be putting on its budget for approval when we formally approve our budget in the spring.”
With files from Adi Loewen
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