A pound of cure

Cra­paud res­i­dents cross­ing fin­gers on pro­posal for health-care cen­tre

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MACDON­ALD

An ounce of preven­tion could even­tu­ally lead to a pound of cure for Is­land tax­pay­ers.

Res­i­dents here are wait­ing for word from the pro­vin­cial govern­ment on whether the pro­posal for a multi-dis­ci­plinary health-care cen­tre will be built in the com­mu­nity.

Lisa Gal­lant, owner of the South Shore Phar­macy, said the cen­tre would pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant long-term health sav­ings by re­mov­ing nearly 500 pa­tients on the pro­vin­cial registry.

“Those are peo­ple who don’t have a doc­tor,” said Gal­lant.

“If they have an acute sit­u­a­tion, they’re go­ing to walk-ins now. If they have a chronic med­i­cal con­di­tion, they might not be seen at all, which would lead to long-term com­pli­ca­tions.”

See­ing ex­tra pa­tients would be pos­si­ble due a nurse prac­ti­tioner join­ing Dr. Hen­drik Visser in the new cen­tre.

Visser cur­rently runs his prac­tice in a ren­o­vated home close to the phar­macy.

The pro­posed cen­tre would see the prac­tice moved to a 2,000-square-foot clinic at­tached to the phar­macy.

Talks be­gan with Health P.E.I. in 2014, and Gal­lant said the prov­ince seemed to sup­port the “gen­eral prin­ci­ples” of a new med­i­cal cen­tre,

How­ever, a pro­posal sent to the pro­vin­cial trea­sury board last year was de­nied in the sum­mer.

The prov­ince has said the new cen­tre would only be ap­proved if it was cost-neu­tral to tax­pay­ers, with the pre­vi­ous pro­posal car­ry­ing a price tag of about $80,000 an­nu­ally.

“It wasn’t ter­ri­bly ex­pen­sive,” said Gal­lant, who added that a num­ber of con­ces­sions were made in the new pro­posal. “(The new pro­posal) is pretty well cost­neu­tral.”

Peter Be­van-Baker, Green Party MLA for Kelly’s CrossCum­ber­land, had pre­vi­ously pre­sented the P.E.I. leg­is­la­ture with a pe­ti­tion con­tain­ing more than 800 sig­na­tures from the com­mu­nity sup­port­ing the de­vel­op­ment.

He said the ma­jor hur­dle has been that most of the sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings would be long-term and might not be re­al­ized for 10 years.

“There would also be some im­me­di­ate sav­ings by re­mov­ing those pa­tients from the registry,” said Be­van-Baker. “It would elim­i­nate as­so­ci­ated emer­gency room vis­its. If you do the math it does look like it would be rev­enue neu­tral.”

Be­van-Baker said the Green Party has a holis­tic ap­proach to health care that puts more em­pha­sis on preven­tion and en­dors­ing healthy liv­ing through diet, re­duc­ing stress and ex­er­cise.

“It looks at all the things we know . . . re­duce the bur­den on the health-care sys­tem. But those are not sexy items po­lit­i­cally be­cause they don’t pro­duce im­me­di­ate ben­e­fits,” he said.

“Those are peo­ple who don’t have a doc­tor. If they have an acute sit­u­a­tion, they’re go­ing to walk-ins now. If they have a chronic med­i­cal con­di­tion, they might not be seen at all, which would lead to long-term com­pli­ca­tions.” Lisa Gal­lant, owner, South Shore Phar­macy

“But if we can keep peo­ple out of health prob­lems, there are tremen­dous sav­ings to that. An ounce of preven­tion is worth a pound of cure.”

Be­van-Baker met with the Cra­paud com­mu­nity coun­cil and op­po­si­tion leader Jamie Fox, who also sup­ports the pro­ject, last week to dis­cuss the pro­posal.

While he’s wait­ing to hear back on the trea­sury board’s de­ci­sion, Be­van-Baker said he’ll be push­ing for a roundtable meet­ing be­tween all groups in­volved if the pro­posal is re­jected again.

Gal­lant said, if ap­proved, the med­i­cal cen­tre would be lo­cated ei­ther at the cur­rent phar­macy’s lo­ca­tion or in an open lot be­tween Anna’s Coun­try Kitchen and the Cra­paud Curl­ing Club.


Kelly’s Cross-Cumberland MLA Peter Be­van-Baker stands out­side the South Shore Phar­macy in Cra­paud. Be­van-Baker is one of many sup­port­ers wait­ing to hear back from the pro­vin­cial trea­sury board on whether a new health-care cen­tre will be built in the com­mu­nity.

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