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Local health team expanding clinics to service 'our full community'

'People are needing access to care. We don't have walk-in clinics. So, we are an area of need for access to care,' says Couchiching Ontario Health Team official
Melanie Moore, the director of integrated planning for the Couchiching Ontario Health Team, and Malcolm Morum, the executive director of the Huronia Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, are excited to be expanding services at the two respective clinics this summer.

The Couchiching Ontario Health Team (COHT) is expanding healthcare services at Couchiching Family Health Team (CFHT) and Huronia Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (HNPLC) after receiving a $2.3 million grant from the Ontario government for enhanced access to team-based care.

The CFHT at 119 Memorial Ave. and HNPLC at 3331 Line 3. N. in Oro-Medonte Township were two of 78 interdisciplinary primary care teams in the province that received the grant to create or expand services.

Now, the two local clinics will be able to service "our full community," says Melanie Moore, the director of integrated planning for the Couchiching Ontario Health Team (COHT).

"We're quite excited," she said. "We were not yet able to provide access to care for our full community before this funding was announced."

The HNPLC will begin operating under the new expansion at the end of June. The CFHT will follow suit in July.

As part of the expansion, the COHT-Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) COVID Care Clinic will be permanently closing next month. The clinic was instrumental in the community’s pandemic response and recovery efforts for nearly four years.

"The COVID legacy clinic was there during pivotal times over the four years," Moore said. "It was a pioneer for something bigger."

Moore says the COVID clinic helped the COHT determine how to provide services for the population who has been left without a primary care provider.  

"People who have a doctor in town, they could access those team-based services before," she explained. "But if you didn't, you did not have access to those interdisciplinary supports. We're changing our approach for access to care.”

The expansion comes at a time when the need for primary care is at its highest. Moore says over 20 per cent of patients in Couchiching don't have a doctor of their own.

"People are needing access to care," Moore said. "We don't have walk-in clinics. So, we are an area of need for access to care."

Peopole who have previously used or are currently receiving care at the COVID Care Clinic will be contacted with more information about the expansion and what to do next.

"If you don't have a doctor or nurse practitioner, you must register with Health Care Connect," Moore said. "We help our patients find access to care options while they wait because that's still the provincial requirement."

For comprehensive information about COHT programs and services, click here. For more information about the HNPLC, click here


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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