By Chad Ingram
Published June 1 2017
Haliburton County will apply for funding through the province’s Central East Local Health Integration Network for the second attempt at a community paramedicine program.
During a May 24 county council meeting EMS deputy chief Tim Waite told councillors that the province is providing $6 million to the LHINs for paramedicine programs $400000 of which is being allocated to the Central East LHIN of which the county is part.
Waite said he’d been in touch with the director of Community Support Services at Haliburton Highlands Health Services and that the organization is extremely interested in the creation of a paramedicine program.
Such a program which has been attempted once before in the municipality would see paramedics making home visits to vulnerable residents making sure they are taking their medication properly doing falls prevention work etc.
Waite said the Community Care Access Centre had indicated there could be 150 clients in Haliburton County at any given time in need of such services.
Adding some pressure to the situation was the tight timeline the province had imposed for applications. With a request for proposals going out May 11 the deadline submission was May 26.
“A couple of weeks to develop a plan with some dance partners is that realistic at all?” asked Minden Hills Reeve and County Warden Brent Devolin.
“It’s a very short timeline” Waite said. “My thoughts are keep it simple because if we make it too complicated we set ourselves up for failure.”
A previous short-lived paramedicine program in the county was unsuccessful at least in part because of a lack of participation from local doctors who were required to refer patients for the program.
Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey said he’d like to see the Haliburton Family Health Team involved and questioned how the program could be successful without its involvement.
“I just hate to see us jump into programs as quick as this” Fearrey said. “Every time we do we fail and did before. I think it’s a good program but I want it to be successful”
HHHS’s Community Support Services include the local GAIN (geriatric assessment intervention network) which Devolin pointed out is now up and running in a way it wasn’t when the previous paramedicine program was launched.
“They weren’t up and fully deployed like they are now” Devolin said.
Community Support Services also includes supportive housing palliative care and other services.
Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt pointed out that many residents in her township are served by the Dorset Health Hub which is located in Lake of Bays township in Muskoka.
“They’re Haliburton County residents” Moffatt said. “I don’t know the complexities around that but I imagine they are notable. Would it help the success of the application to have partners like the health hub?”
Highlands East Deputy-reeve Suzanne Partridge similarly noted that many Highlands East residents seek their health care in Bancroft.