Rideau Valley Health Centre to Celebrate Grand Opening Friday, November 18, 2011

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The new state of the art health centre meets a pressing need in Barrhaven, Ottawa South and Manotick for family physicians and will help take the pressure off crowded hospital emergency rooms with an Urgent Care Centre offering diagnostic imaging and more.

Rideau Valley Health Services Limited (RVHS) is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the new Rideau Valley Health Centre (RVHC) on Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 8:30 am. Located at 1221 Greenbank Road (at Berrigan Drive), the RVHC meets a pressing need in the Ottawa South, Barrhaven and Manotick communities for family physicians. Moreover, the impressive new Health Centre meets that need as the first phase of a state-of-the-art 15,000 square foot healthcare complex that will include an Urgent Care Centre, onsite diagnostic imaging, a pharmacy, and capacity for an array of family health services.

With a Family Health Organization (FHO) designation, the RVHC was designed to house a large practice of 10 or 12 family physicians. There are 24 examination rooms, several doctors’ offices, multiple computer stations and well-appointed treatment rooms. If a patient requires an x-ray or ultrasound, there will be no need for a trip to a clinic or hospital; starting mid-February 2012, diagnostic imaging will be done on-site. Thoughtful scheduling will maximize the efficiency of the Health Centre; for example, babies in the practice requiring regular immunization will be scheduled for appointments on the same day to streamline the process of administering their shots.

Dr. Robert Rowan was the first family physician to make the decision to relocate to the RVHC. He is excited about working to improve the health of the local community in this new multi-service facility. In his own words: “I am extremely happy and proud to be able to work in this incredible and beautiful medical facility. Those who know me or have met me recently know that my excitement level is running high. It seems like I have been waiting for such a wonderful opportunity and facility for a long time. We have some great physicians who will be starting here in a phased-in process, and look forward to recruiting many more physicians interested in providing state of the art medicine in a state of the art facility.”

Marion Moritz is the manager of the RVHS complex. She brings many years’ experience in emergency room nursing and management, including 10 years as Executive Director of the Orleans Urgent Care Clinic. She was “happy to join the team,” she states, “and excited about the opportunity to build something from the ground up.”

The RVHS Urgent Care Centre will open mid-February, 2012, concurrent with diagnostic imaging. An urgent care facility has many of the same capabilities as a hospital emergency department, and is staffed by emergency physicians and registered nurses; there are two significant differences, however: urgent care facilities don’t accept ambulances and they don’t admit patients. With the ability to triage patients and the presence of onsite diagnostics, the RVHS Urgent Care Centre will be capable of doing approximately 80% of what a hospital emergency room (ER) can do. It will cast broken bones, treat dislocated shoulders, cuts, sprains, headaches, bronchitis, infections, minor trauma – in short, the maladies that clog hospital ERs.

Moritz explains that approximately 75% of visitors to a hospital ER could be treated at an urgent care centre. Cost effective to operate, urgent care centres offer quick and efficient one-stop service, taking the pressure off crowded ERs. For patients, this translates to a normal wait time of under an hour, rather than several hours, or one-quarter of ER wait times. RVHS’ nine urgent care examining rooms will make it possible for 200 patients to be seen per day.

A critical element of an urgent care centre is its laboratory functioning. RVHS’ Urgent Care Centre will be using innovative point-of-care technology. Point-of-care testing (POCT) is defined as medical testing at or near the site of patient care, increasing the likelihood that the patient, physician, and care team will receive the results more quickly, and allowing for immediate clinical management decisions to be made. POCT includes blood glucose testing, drug abuse screening, urine strips testing, pregnancy testing, hemoglobin diagnostics, and cholesterol screening. POCT is accomplished through the use of transportable, portable, and handheld instruments and test kits. RVHS is grateful to former KDH lab manager Patti Boyd (recently retired) for her help in developing the plan for laboratory services.

As mentioned earlier, the RVHS complex has the capacity to house an array of family health services in addition to the family health centre, the urgent care centre, diagnostic imaging, and the pharmacy (coming soon). Specialist clinics will save patients a trip to a hospital, where they are normally located, and also cut down on traffic at the hospital. Meanwhile, the RVHS facility is already home to the Ottawa South Diabetes Education and Support Program, a multidisciplinary team that includes a Registered Dietitian and a Registered Nurse dedicated to improving the quality of life of clients living with Type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The group offers diabetes and pre-diabetes education and counseling; group programs start every month.

Unlike the majority of healthcare facilities, the RVHS complex is located adjacent to a suburban shopping mall, Barrhaven’s Village Square Mall to be exact. The new 15,000 square foot facility was architect-designed and purpose-built to RVHS specifications. Another innovative aspect of the facility is that it is not owned by a healthcare corporation, but leased from the property owner, with the lease to be paid by the providers of services sharing the space, such as the pharmacy, and the family physicians. The RVHC family physicians are paid by OHIP and, like doctors with their own practices, they will pay for the overhead of the space in which they practice – heat, hydro, etc. And the end result is a multi-service family healthcare facility that pays for itself.

RVHS CEO Colin Goodfellow (also CEO of Kemptville District Hospital) describes the Barrhaven complex as a “new model of health service delivery”. Where a brand new hospital would have cost in the neighbourhood of $80 million, he explains, and would have taken many years to plan and fundraise for, this facility cost taxpayers nothing and is open 24 months from the inception of the project.

The vision of the RVHS holistic healthcare facility grew out of increased demand on the emergency department of Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) and an obvious need in the outlying communities for family physicians. The KDH catchment area includes Barrhaven, Manotick and other neighbourhoods in Ottawa South, whose populations have all grown substantially over the last decade. KDH administration tackled the problem with some innovative thinking, developing a plan to sponsor this new initiative. KDH has used its financial leverage to build this facility, which will be self-sufficient once it’s up and running. No capital funding was used.

Rideau Valley Health Services would like to recognize the contribution of Ottawa commercial construction firm ZW Group and the trades for all their hard work in readying the facility for opening. Health Centre Manager Marion Moritz praises ZW Group: “their attention to detail, planning and execution is wonderful.” Also instrumental in bringing RVHC to its opening day were IT specialists IDS Systems Consultant, and suppliers The Computer Media Group, Toshiba, Carestream, Ontario Medical Supply, Shoppers Home Supply, and The Stevens Company.

Residents of Ottawa South, Barrhaven and Manotick interested in registering for a family physician should visit the RVHC website, http://www.rvhc.ca, and fill out the registration form available from the home page; patients’ names and contact information will be added to a database and individuals will be contacted when a physician becomes available.

The Ottawa South Diabetes Education and Support Program is accepting referrals via the RVHC website or by email, diabetes(at)rvhs(dot)ca.

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Jennifer Read
Kemptville District Hospital
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