Letter to Patients October 2015

Dear Patients:

 

It is our privilege to be your Family Physician and we remain committed to staying up to date with best practice guidelines. We want to keep you informed with some of the changes that are taking place in our office.

 

Family Health Organization

We have joined other doctors in Burlington to create the Harvester Road Family Health Organization (FHO). We believe this venture has enabled us to provide some of the most innovative medical care in Ontario, including electronic medical records, TeleHealth Answering Service, and after hours clinics for just our patients in our group.

 

The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care sees FHOs as a cost effective way to provide quality health care in Ontario. In order for FHOs to work, enrolled patients must commit to receiving their primary health care from their family physician, or a doctor associated with the FHO. Please DO NOT access primary care from other walk-in clinics as this reduces the quality of your health care. Other walk-in clinics rarely send records to your doctor after your visit. This leads to a duplication of services performed as often patients need to see their primary family doctor for the same medical problem. Further, many patients may not know that under our agreement with the Ministry, our fees are deducted for visits by patients to family doctors outside of our FHO.

 

For non-urgent after hours medical advice, please call the Telephone Health Advisory Service @ 1-866-553-7205, available 24 hours per day.

 

For urgent issues after hours, we encourage our patients to access the doctor on call at one of our FHO after hours clinics. These operate Monday-Thursday from 5-8pm, Saturday 9-12, and many Fridays from 5-8 pm. Please call the office or (905) 635-2344 for daily clinic hours and location.

 

These are the locations of the four clinics:

1) Harvester Road Medical Clinic: Suite 402, 3155 Harvester Road; Dr. Powers, Dr. Soni, Dr. Liberatore

2) Waterview Medical Centre: 464 Locust Street; Dr. Olsen, Dr. Galloway

3) St. Joseph’s Medical Clinic: 906 Brant Street, 2nd floor; Dr. Hersi

4) Tansley Woods Medical Clinic: 4100 Upper Middle Road (in the Tansley Woods Retirement Home complex); Dr. Jerome

 

Extended Coverage

Please take a moment to review the Extended Coverage form at the back of this letter. Many services we provide to patients are not covered by OHIP. While you can choose to pay for individual uninsured services on a “pay-per-service”, we encourage you to consider the Extended coverage option, which is an annual fee. This coverage will save you time and money. Even if you do not anticipate needing these services, signing up for the plan will ensure that we will be able to continue to offer many of the services that many other doctors have simply withdrawn from their practices in this time of health care cuts in Ontario. We would like to continue to provide services such as benign skin lesion removals, suturing of lacerations, IUD insertions, liquid nitrogen treatments for warts, and rapid strep tests, and pregnancy tests in the office. However, the costs for these services are mostly paid out of our pocket and with the recent fee reduction by the MOH, we may need to eliminate some of these services in the future.

 

If you chose not to pay the annual fee, this will in no way jeopardize your care. If there is a financial difficulty surrounding payment of non-insured services, please feel free to discuss this with your family doctor.

 

Email

Our next step for increasing efficiency is to collect our patients’ email addresses. This will allow us to provide general information in outgoing communications only. For example, this will allow us to inform patients about the availability of immunizations (flu shots), provide reminders to patients regarding preventative health care (e.g. reminders when their pap test, fecal occult blood test, or mammogram is due), and eventually to send out information about our clinic and newsletter electronically. To this end, we ask that you download the enclosed email consent form (click here) and contact us with your current email address should you choose to provide it.

 

For further information about government cuts to healthcare and clawbacks to physician salaries, please go to www.oma.ca or www.doctorsandpatients.ca