New med­i­cal clinic in works for Drumheller

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

A sec­ond med­i­cal clinic in the val­ley is closer to be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

This comes af­ter a week of tur­moil in the Drumheller med­i­cal com­mu­nity that re­sulted in Dr. Rithesh Ram no longer be­ing a mem­ber of Drumheller As­so­ci­ated Physi­cians.

He tells the Mail that he in­tends to still see pa­tients at the As­so­ci­ated Physi­cian Clinic and is in the process of set­ting up a lo­ca­tion for a new clinic, and this process too is mov­ing along.

Dr. Ram has se­cured a 10year lease at the River­side Health Cen­tre Build­ing in Drumheller at 180 River­side Drive East (on the third floor, above Dr. Poznikoff’s River­side Den­tal Clinic).

Con­struc­tion plan­ning for the of­fice space has al­ready started with work to be­gin as soon as the per­mit is ap­proved. This comes af­ter a week of tran­si­tion. Dr. Ram tells the Mail he was forced from the Drumheller As­so­ci­ated Physi­cians, and he feels it is re­lated to a sur­vey he com­mis­sioned to learn more about pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence in the val­ley.

“The im­pe­tus for the sur- vey was that I have heard a lot, whether it be Face­book, my own pa­tients, talk at the hos­pi­tal or peo­ple that no longer live here, many had con­cerns. All of it was around ac­cess, around book­ing, be­ing able to get in to see your doc­tor. These are things that are hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where, but when you hear about it from peo­ple who haven’t lived here for 20 years and it is still hap­pen­ing. I was cu­ri­ous.”

It will be some time be­fore he sees the re­sults of the sur­vey, how­ever, he does know it has been well re­ceived by pa- tients, with over 500 re­sponses.

He said there was talk of ex­pan­sion of the clinic, and he as­sisted bring­ing Dr. Lik­nes to the clinic in De­cem­ber and has Dr. Buller, a fe­male physi­cian start­ing in July. His spouse is cur­rently study­ing Medicine and when she com­pletes her stud­ies, plans on set­ting up in the val­ley as well.

The re­port Dr. Ram has parted ways with the clinic be­gan to cir­cu­late on so­cial me­dia around mid­night on Fri­day morn­ing and there was mas­sive en­gage­ment from Drum- heller res­i­dents, mostly in sup­port of the doc­tor.

He plans to have the clinic run­ning shortly.

“I don’t have a spe­cific time frame but it will be as soon as pos­si­ble and that de­pends on the sup­port we con­tinue to get from pa­tients, the town, and the com­mu­nity,” he said. “We are thank­ful for it, and we are do­ing it for them.”

Dr. Ram grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Cal­gary with a joint MD-Ph.D. de­gree from

the Lead­ers in Medicine - Epi­demi­ol­ogy pro­gram. He was the re­cip­i­ent of the 2013 Award for Young Lead­ers from the Cana­dian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. He has been prac­tic­ing in the val­ley since July 2015. To fill out Dr. Ram’s sur­vey go to http://www.drumheller­health.ca/

As of press time, there was no com­ment avail­able from Drumheller As­so­ci­ated Physi­cians.

The new clinic will be lo­cated at 180 River­side Drive East and will carry the name River­side Med­i­cal.

Dr. Rithesh Ram... plan­ning new clinic in Drumheller.

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