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Health Networks Benefit Four Island Communities

by NationTalk on June 25, 2008956 Views

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2008

Ministry of Health Services
Vancouver Island Health Authority

VICTORIA – Three new integrated health networks will provide physicians, caregivers and patients in Sooke, Port Alberni and Oceanside (Parksville/Qualicum) with improved access to services. The Underserved Communities Integrated Health Networks (IHN) is funded by a $1-million investment from the provincial government’s Health Innovation Fund last year.“Integrated Health Networks are a component of our Primary Health Care Charter, which focuses on improving care for the thousands of British Columbians living with chronic health conditions,” said Health Services Minister George Abbott. “The integrated health networks in Oceanside, Sooke and Port Alberni place an emphasis on helping patients learn how to better manage their health, while ensuring that the unique realities of each community are carefully considered.”

Underserved Communities IHN services will be offered to:

· Oceanside patients aged 50 and older living with two or more chronic diseases;

· Sooke patients aged 19 and older one with one or more chronic diseases;

· Port Alberni patients who are either aged 19 and older with two or more chronic diseases or a member of the Aboriginal community aged 19 and older with one or more chronic diseases.

Examples of chronic diseases addressed by the IHNs include chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and congestive heart failure.

“The Integrated Health Networks is one of those behind-the-scenes initiatives that is really going to make a difference for the patients they serve,” said Ron Cantelon, MLA for Nanaimo-Parksville. “This sort of co-ordination and focused attention for patients with more complex needs will be huge help not only to patients and their families, but also an enhancement to the efficiency of the health-care system.”

IHN team members – primary health-care nurses, social workers, dieticians and medical office assistants – will work closely with family physicians in the communities to identify patients who meet the IHN criteria. The teams will then initiate face-to-face meetings in doctors’ offices, linking patients with appropriate care.

“The IHNs represent a unique partnership that not only supports family physicians – it improves the overall quality of life for numerous patients living with chronic illnesses by giving them better control over their own health,” said VIHA board chair Jac Kreut. “By reaching patients at risk of hospital admission and helping them and their caregivers navigate all of VIHA’s available services these dedicated networks of health-care providers will also serve to encourage people to live more independently within their own communities, while also reducing the numbers of hospital admissions and avoidable emergency department visits.”

Last year, the Province announced a $100-million Health Innovation Fund to support innovation within British Columbia’s healthcare system. The fund was created to help provincial health authorities facilitate better patient care, with improvements to primary health care a key component of the initiative.


Media contact:

Michelle Stewart
Communications Director
Ministry of Health Services
250 812-5571 (cell)
250 952-1887 (media line)

Shannon Marshall
VIHA Communications
250 370-8270

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