northern heaBurns Lake District News

Under the new model, Northern Health would also maintain clinic staff who would be then be unionized and nurse practitioners would become part of the staff at the clinic, the Lakes District Hospital and the Health Centre.

Northern Health did not persuade us to rescind our hospital privileges, we did this as a matter of good will and good ith in the negotiations process, Dr. Hill added.

Still no agreement has been reached between local doctors and Northern Health.

Michael McMillan, Northern Healths chief operating officer said that once the APP model is in place, the recruitment of local physicians will be much easier as the model has previously worked well in the communities of McBride and Valemont, which are similar to Burns Lake.

Northern Health appreciates this, McMillan said, adding that they are now looking at a June 1, 2011 clinic transfer.

Earlier this year, local physicians gave 90 days notice to Northern Health, alerting them to the ct that they planned to resign all hospital privileges on April 30.

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Dr. Hill said to Lakes District News that the physicians had agreed to rescind their resignations of hospital privileges, however he said this was not announced at the public forum.

northern heaBurns Lake District News,Currently the clinic is privately owned by local physicians, however both parties have been negotiating an alternative payments program (APP) funding model for the clinic. This would ultimately see ownership transferred to Northern Health and local physicians placed on contract with the health authority for their services.

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She said, I may be mistaken but thought it was one of the things Dr. Hill mentioned the night of the [Burns Lake public]  forum when he indicated the physicians would be staying.

Dr. Hill said that clinic patients should expect some delays in service in May. There will be fewer doctors to service the same amount of patients, he added.

Dr. Norman will be retiring but has agreed to stay working in Burns Lake as a locum.

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He went on to say that the negotiating parties are under a certain amount of time pressure to reach an agreement but that the agreement had to be right before a deal can be made.

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Northern Health communications officer Eryn Collins also confirmed to Lakes District News that local doctors had rescinded their resignations from the Lakes District Hospital.

There will be just Dr. Graetz and I at the clinic [after April 30] with one or two other doctors available to pitch in, he said, unwilling to elaborate on who the one or two other doctors are.

As part of the negotiations Dr. Allan Hill, chief of staff and Dr. Michael Graetz will be staying on under the fee for service agreement.

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We do have one doctor coming, who is in the process of immigration from the U.S., he said.

As of April 30, tnorthern heaBurns Lake District Newsermination notices were also handed out to all staff at the Burns Lake Medical Clinic with the expectation that Northern Health would take over the clinic, the staff and the doctors.

The APP model is an alternative to the funding of physician services from the current fee for service method.

Just when the doctor will arrive in Burns Lake however, is dependent on the length of time it takes to complete the Canadian immigration process.

We are doing this because this is what we are used to, said Dr. Hill to Lakes District News, however any new physicians coming to the community will work under the APP model.

Staff layoff notices at the clinic are still effective as of April 30, however Dr. Hill said some of the staff will continue to work at the clinic as a temporary measure throughout the month of May.

Dr. Hill agreed that negotiations are going well. We are good progress and we are agreeing to negotiate, he said confirming that both parties have agreed to extend the negotiation period to the end of May.

We want to make sure we get things right, that we have the right arrangement and the right deal in place, we want to ensure that we have a good deal in place for both Northern Health and the physicians, he said.

I have sat down and met with Dr. Hill and Dr. Graetz regarding the details of the transfer agreement, said McMillan.

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Dr. Hill did however divulge that there is a new doctor set to arrive in Burns Lake.

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During the meetings, Dr. Graetz suggested extending the deadline from April 30 to the end of May, so as to provide a one month extension on the negotiations.

This was done much later on, he said.

Discussions between the two parties are continuing, but as yet have not brought about an agreement for the future of the Burns Lake Medical Clinic.

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According to McMillan, the two parties have made good progress in their discussions regarding the clinics transfer.

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We want to assure the public that we doctors are working on their behalf to provide a continuing medical service to the Lakes District.

Dr. Hill said to Lakes District News that he intended to stay on at the clinic after April 30, along with Dr. Michael Graetz. Dr. Gregory Norman will be retiring on April 30, however he has agreed to stay on in Burns Lake to provide medical care as a locum.

Staffing at the clinic [during May] will take on a slightly different form, we cant afford all the staff which is one of the reasons why we went to Northern Health in the first place, Dr. Hill said.

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