Above, staff and board members are accompanied by Bill Walker, MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound at the South East Grey Community Health Centre official opening in July, 2017.
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
South East Grey Community Health Centre (SEGCHC) Executive Director Allan Madden and Manager of Operations Theresa Baker recently took South Grey News on a tour of their new satellite clinic in Dundalk. The facility opened in July of this year.
The $75,000 cost to renovate the space was entirely paid for by SEGCHC whose primary care services and health programs are managed from their main facility in Markdale at 55 Victoria Avenue. To pay for the project, the organization went into a deficit position for its 2017 fiscal year, aware of the previously under-addressed health care needs within the community.
Partnering with the Erskine Presbyterian Church, the clinic is located on the east side of the building at 90 Artemesia Street and consists of three well-appointed patient care rooms as well as access to the lower level where many of their community programs take place.
Programs offered by SEGCHC at the new Dundalk location include exercise lessons in yoga, pilates and tai chi; literacy and skills development, cooking classes as well as social activities. Programs are offered free of charge and are available to all residents of Southgate.
“It’s part of our proactive approach to keep people active in the community,” said Madden, adding that the number one cause of death for seniors is social isolation. "[For seniors] we provide a cognitive setting entirely run by volunteers.”
Although many programs have been developed with seniors and youth in mind, Madden is also quick to point out that everyone is welcome to join their programs at any time, regardless of skill level, age or economic situation. By example, he cited classes to start in January instructing approximately 20 to 25 residents in upgrading their reading and writing skills.
To access health care at the facility, patients can be referred by any one of the area’s practicing physicians and will be treated using a whole-health approach to family care. Madden explained the many diverse health care services offered by high quality professionals who have partnered with SEGCHC under different health service disciplines including:
Approximately 6,000 patients are currently rostered to the clinic with nurse practitioners bringing in their own patients as well.
Chiropody, the treatment and prevention of foot disorders, is another important area of concern for SEGCHC. “Grey County has the highest incidence of amputations in Ontario,” Madden explained, adding that with access to so many health professionals, all of a patient’s health care needs can be addressed. “A chiropodist can not only diagnose a patient who has diabetes but also refer that patient to a dietician within the clinic who can then successfully manage the condition with dietary advice,” he said.
SEGCHC relies on funding provided by partnerships with local government, donors and community groups. On December 20, SEGCHC will make a presentation to Southgate Council asking for an increase to their existing agreement which provides them with operational funding of $18-20,000 per year. Madden hopes that Council will commit to $25,000 in funding per year for the next 10 years, ensuring stable finances for the foreseeable future.
Madden is proud of his organization’s record too, boasting some impressive stats including the highest cancer screening rates and lowest cost-per-patient scores in Ontario. He added that their patient satisfaction rating stands at 98%.
He also indicated his ongoing desire to strike new partnerships with other community groups and local health care providers. He named Kids ’n Us as one of them and is optimistic that the childcare and family communication centre in Markdale will work with them to facilitate new educational programs and services.
“Health care centres (like SEGCHC) are the best kept secret in Ontario,” said Madden. Given the successes that Madden and Baker showed us, that may not be for long.
For more information on SEGCHC programs or services, visit their website.
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