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Changes to Red Lake Healthcare
Retroactive to April 1, 2023, there are less family physicians funded to work in Red Lake. There has been a reduction in the number of Ministry of Health allocated physician spots on the RNPGA (Rural Northern Physician Group Agreement) Contract. There was funding for 7 doctors—we are now funded for only 6.
This devastating change will negatively impact the ability to recruit doctors, draw locums and keep physicians working locally. It will further challenge medical services at the clinic, the hospital and beyond.
What does this mean for patients?
At the clinic:
At the hospital:
What can you do?
-Be kind. No one is more disappointed about these changes than the physicians, the staff and the integrated care teams we work with. Derisive language, threats and abuse cannot be tolerated.
-Write a letter to your Member of Provincial Parliament, Sol Mamakwa and to the Ontario Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones and let them know you feel you want equitable, robust healthcare that includes more than a skeleton crew of rural doctors dedicated to your community
-Take preventive health seriously. Avoid risky activities that might cause injury, given the unstable state of the Emergency Room.
-Consider alternate means of care. Mammograms for eligible women can be self-booked, for example, by the breast screening program. Patients can self-refer for depression or anxiety to Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program based out of Thunder Bay. Health 811 is an option for many health issues and there are several private-pay virtual care companies to be found on the internet.
If your family is expecting, check out this program organized by EarlyON, FIREFLY and the Northwestern Health Unit.
There are very few appointments with a doctor right now but please do check in periodically for cancellations or new openings, either by phone or online through our patient portal. Check out our list of online or alternate resources as well:
Family Health Team (NP, RN, Social Worker, Dietitian)
Changes to Prescription Renewal Process
August 23, 2023
Change to Prescription Renewal Request Processes in Red Lake
Effective September 5, 2023, Red Lake Medical Associates will no longer accept renewal requests by fax, by email or by drop off, whether from pharmacy or from a patient or their representative directly. There will be an exception made for end-of-life palliative care patients. We will continue to accept fax clarifications from pharmacists or other related professional communication.
This unfortunate change in service is directly related to the reduction in funded positions for doctors in the RNPGA agreement for Red Lake and the overall Human Health Resource crisis in the community.
As of September 5, 2023, prescription renewals will be managed during very short appointments, dedicated ONLY to the prescription renewal request. In order to accommodate a maximal number of patients requiring renewals, no other health issues can be dealt with during these appointments. In addition, these appointments are not for requesting new medications.
Prescription renewal appointments are only available to patients who are part of the Red Lake Medical Associates’ clinic practice.
How will they be booked?
Mostly online. Patients of the Red Lake Clinic will be able to request a booking of a dedicated prescription renewal appointment online at https://portal.healthmyself.net. For those without access to computers, we will reserve a few appointments that can be booked by the front office staff in person/by phone. The appointment times will be approximate. The doctor will try to call you within 30 minutes of either side of your booked time. Doctors may use their cell phones—please be prepared to answer “Unknown Caller” calls.
What do I need to do to prepare?
Know your medications and doses. When you book your appointment online, list in the online form the names and doses of all the medications you wish to have renewed. Have an updated list of those medications and their doses with you at the time of your appointment, too.
We anticipate that most of these prescription renewal appointments will be via telephone. Providing us your list of medications in advance will help ensure a fast and efficient appointment.
Plan ahead. Plan to request renewals of all medications you are likely to require in the next 6-12 months. Please plan approximately a month in advance of when your medication is expected to run out.
Complete your lab req, if you have one. If you are on medications that require blood work monitoring and you have a requisition, have your lab tests done at least 1 week in advance of your appointment.
For blood pressure medications, check your blood pressure, if possible. If it is a blood pressure pill, it is helpful if you have a home blood pressure cuff and can tell the doctor your measurement during the appointment. Alternatively, if you do not have an updated blood pressure since your last renewal or dose change, you can request a blood pressure appointment with the clinic to have it checked.
Keep an updated medication list. We suggest that when you pick up your medications from the pharmacy, you ensure you keep the printed list provided to you for easy reference.
Familiarize yourself with the online booking portal before you need it.
Have ready a quiet place with no distractions for your appointment.
What about controlled substances?
Controlled substances (narcotics, benzodiazepines, ADHD medications, etc.) require complex assessment, monitoring and discussion We ask that patients make every effort to try to book a regular appointment for these medications. “Prescription Renewal Only” appointments are a last resort for renewal of controlled substances. The decision to renew any medication is at the discretion of the clinician.
What if there are no appointments left?
We recognize that the team may not be able to accommodate all prescription renewal requests. Medication renewal requests are not suitable for urgent care/walk-in or the emergency room. Other options include speaking with your pharmacist about extending or renewing your medications or seeking care from other resources, such as virtual clinics.
We are hopeful that with your help in organizing and planning your prescription renewal requests, we will soon find we have enough renewal appointments to meet the needs of the community.
Physicians of the Red Lake Medical Associates
Support from the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Network
PAIL Network is thrilled to share that we will be starting TWO new support groups this November!!
Changes to our Urgent Care Clinic
There is an urgent care clinic physician assigned in the mornings Monday through Saturday (excluding statutory holidays). In the afternoon there may be accommodations for same day bookings for urgent issues with a clinic physician, depending on availability. If the clinic is unable to accommodate a same day booking we encourage you to seek care in the emergency room if the issue is emergent, or to present the next morning to the urgent care clinic when a physician will be assigned to cover urgent consultations (excluding Sundays).
At this time, the Red Lake Family Health Team asks that all visitors that have respiratory symptoms wear a mask. This is for the protection of everyone in the building and is based on recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Prescription Fee for Non-rostered Patients
Please note that patients NOT rostered to our clinic will be charged a $20 fee for prescription renewals without appointments. If you live in the Red Lake area and get your primary health care here, please ensure that you fill out the simple, one page roster form. Ask for one at the front desk.