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Health Networks Benefit Three Island Communities

by NationTalk on June 25, 2008897 Views

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2008HEALTH0066-000990
June 24, 2008

Ministry of Health Services
Vancouver Island Health Authority

VICTORIA – Three new integrated health networks will provide physicians, caregivers and patients in Victoria, Campbell River and Nanaimo with improved access to services for thousands of people living with chronic diseases. The Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Co-Morbidity Integrated Health Networks (IHN) are funded by a $1.7-million investment from the provincial government’s Health Innovation Fund last year.“Integrated health networks focus on improving care for patients living with multiple chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and respiratory conditions,” said Health Services Minister George Abbott. “An integrated health network is designed to reach patients living with multiple chronic conditions and help them lead healthier lives, have better control over their own health, and reduce hospital admissions and avoidable emergency department visits.”

The CDM Co-Morbidity IHN services are directed at patients aged 50 and older with two or more chronic diseases, such as: diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and congestive obstructive pulmonary disease. The Campbell River IHN also provides services to members of the Aboriginal community who are aged 19 and older with one or more chronic diseases. Additional services targeted at patients with hepatitis, depression/anxiety, HIV/AIDS and cerebrovascular disease will also be offered in Nanaimo and Campbell River.

“This type of team approach will strengthen a number of chronic disease programs already underway in the Campbell River and Comox Valley areas,” said Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen. “Many First Nations people in this area are coping with multiple chronic diseases and will benefit from this co-ordination.”

IHN team members – primary health-care nurses, social workers, dieticians and medical office assistants – will work closely with family physicians in the three 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 are dedicated networks of health-care providers working toward one common goal – reaching patients at risk of hospital admission and helping them and their caregivers navigate all of VIHA’s available services,” said VIHA board chair Jac Kreut. “This kind of unique partnership demonstrates our commitment to improving the health of patients living with chronic illnesses, allowing them to live more independently in their own communities, and alleviating demands on family physicians.”

Last year, the provincial government announced a $100-million Health Innovation Fund to support innovation within British Columbia’s health-care 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

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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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