“Basically what we are doing in this section of the hospital is renovate it and the doctors offices and public health is going to move in here,” said AHS communications official James Frey of the long-term care section of the Raymond Health Care Centre.
“It has to do with a lot of things, efficiency is one – it works better if everything is one place – then you don’t have to travel between wherever the hospital and clinic are.”
AHS vice-president of Community Grant Walker and several members of his team for the project, which will centralize medical services for residents in the Westwind area, were present to provide information on the impact of the renovations.
“We have seen (centralization) benefit in other places, so we thought it would do well here. We are going to concentrate on what’s best for the client, not what’s best for our system necessarily,” said Walker of AHS’s decision to centralize. “We will learn how to take advantage of the situation as best possible. We are here and we have lots of representatives from the various components of AHS . . . we are pretty excited about this opportunity.”
AHS will also be implementing the same system in Taber, beginning around the same time as Raymond. The decision comes from seeing centralizes services flourish in other municipalities such as, Pincher Creek, Fort MacLeod, Bassano and Picture Butte.
Both projects have been approved, Raymond at $3.4 Million and Taber at $9 Million, and are expected to be heading for tender in February 2014. Construction on the projects are anticipated to begin as early as March.
With the long-term area of the Raymond hospital being empty it can easily be isolated, keeping the impact to staff and clients to a minimum.
“It might be a good thing to have more than one exit for the parking lot . . . and more parking,” said Raymond resident Bonnie Lu ZoBell at the open house.
“We will increase the parking lot. The amount of parking that can be funded, or is required, is based on a meeting with the municipality and codes of Raymond,” said Walker in regards to how many additional spots will be added. “There will also be different access points to the centre.”
By consolidating all services to one location AHS expects the patient volume at the Raymond location will “increase substantially” just from the physician traffic alone.
“(Those patients) will be like 80 per cent or more of the traffic for this building,” said Walker of the physician clients.
“Our home care staff are based out of Magrath right now and service both areas. We are not reducing any services to the Magrath area. The clinic will continue in Magrath and there will be opportunities for greater flexibility for staff to do paperwork or desk work in either location.”
However, by focusing on “what’s best for the client,” location of the Home Care and Public Health offices won’t matter said Walker. The new system will allow for easy interaction between residents and care providers, as well as provide a one-stop location for patients.
“We believe this combination of AHS community based programming and staff will really enhance the quality of care to the residents of Raymond and area through better integration and communication,” Walker said.
“I’m glad they’re centralizing things. It will give better quality, community care to the patients,” said ZoBell. “It’s so nice that patients (will be able to) go directly to the lab or x-ray area without having to leave the building.”