Primary Health Care Access Coordinators are helping people be healthy There are people working across Horizon Health Network who help New Brunswickers obtain better access to primary health care. Health Canada defines primary health care as an approach to health and a spectrum of Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of an article submitted to the New Brunswick Medical Society’s fall 2019 edition of Opus MD.
services beyond the traditional health care system. It includes all services that play a part in health, such as income, housing, education, and environment. Primary care refers to health promotion, illness and injury prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury. Primary Health Care Access Coordinators (PHCAC) understand the specific needs in the regions where they work and look at the data and make recommendations to influence service planning. Dan Doherty, director of the primary health care for Horizon in the Saint John area, said the PHCACs act as a bridge between regional health authorities and community-based service providers. “The PHCACs build relationships with key stakeholders and community partners to align resources and assist in identifying opportunities for improving access to primary health care services,” said Dan. The PHCACs review and analyze data provided by professionals, Decision Support teams, Patient Connect NB, New Brunswick Health Council and Horizon’s Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) to identify areas of improvement. By reviewing and analyzing all the data and the processes in place, PHCAC are in a good position to provide recommendations to improve the services already in place or recommend new services according the specific needs of the population, therefore to facilitate change. Laurie Bouvier, Horizon’s PHCAC for the Moncton area, said prior to becoming a coordinator, she worked for 17 years in acute care. She said it’s rewarding when she sees a change in the way people think about health care. “The thing I appreciate most about this position is the opportunity to work ‘upstream’,” Laurie said. “Working with community partners to improve the system responsible for preventative care.” The PHCAC connects patients with primary- care providers working off the list collected by Patient Connect NB (811). Nathanael Patriquin, Horizon’s PHCAC for the Fredericton and Upper River Valley area, said for him, every day is a rewarding experience, but one aspect stands out to him: “Knowing that we have made a difference in the health and wellbeing of someone.” Stephanie Neilson, Horizon’s PHCAC in the Saint John area, said as PHCACs they work with physician recruiters to review data and consult on where and when recruiting a physician would have the greatest impact.
Dear Staff, Physicians and Volunteers, Fall has arrived, and Horizon is beginning to chart our course for the next three years as we are in the early stages of developing our strategic plan. There have been internal sessions and I hope many of you took the time to participate and share your ideas on how health care can be improved. Working in health care is interesting, because not only do we have stake in our organization as employees, but we’re also interested as users of the health care system. While some of us use our health care system more than others, it’s
A welcome note from the editor
Members of Horizon’s Primary Health Care leadership team. From left: Kathleen Buchanan, director of Primary Health Care, Moncton; Stephanie Neilson, Primary Health Care Access Coordinator, Saint John; Bronwyn Davies, director of Primary Health Care, Fredericton and Upper River Valley; Nathanael Patriquin, Primary Health Care Access Coordinator, Upper River Valley and Fredericton; Kerri Mullin, Primary Health Care Access Coordinator, Miramichi; Laurie Bouvier, Primary Health Care Access Coordinator, Moncton; and Dan Doherty, director of the Primary Health Care, Saint John. Missing from photo: Greg Sargent, director of Primary Health Care and Public Health, Miramichi.
Welcome to the 18th edition of the Horizon Star! Last September we celebrated our 10-year anniversary as an organization — can you believe a whole year has passed since then? Since then, we’ve become even stronger together as One Horizon: We celebrated together, now we owe each other that commitment, that shared responsibility and accountability, to better ourselves as we look to achieve new goals in our second decade. And that growth and collaboration is already happening. We’ve seen this through difficult times and challenges, such as recruitment, staff shortages and media attention, and through good times, like your support in making this one of the best internal publications in the country! Much of this is done by creating networks within our organization that allow us to build and share. As our VP of Community says in an article on Page 5, we need to “build partnerships, share best practices and move knowledge into action.” In this issue we see how Horizon’s primary care network is doing just that (Page 5), and how an initiative like encouraging skin-to-skin during painful procedures (Page 6 and 7) is a valued best practice throughout the organization. Even this issue’s Top 10 list (Page 17) shows how Horizon employees are doing their part to tackle an even bigger issue, as they share what they are doing to clean-up the world we live in. I hope you take time to read this list, as I truly believe learning from each other plays a big part in creating sustainable change. Likewise, sharing our good ideas, best practices and even failures with others means better outcomes for our patients, clients and families. As always, it’s an honour to share your stories, and I hope you’ll continue to reach me at HorizonStar@HorizonNB.ca
safe to say everybody accesses the health care services available in their community at one time or another. For this reason, it’s important you share your opinion, as you see how our system works every day and how our patients/ clients are being cared for. Because of this, you undoubtedly have ideas to share on how things could be improved. Not to worry if you missed these early consultation sessions, as there will be other opportunities to engage in the coming months. We see the importance in engaging with as many New Brunswickers as possible and aligning our plan with the government’s plan to improve health care in this province. I was pleased to see the provincial government announced a nursing recruitment strategy. This is both desperately needed and a step in the right direction.
In June, Horizon’s Community Health Leadership team hosted the 2019 Primary Health Care Education Forum in Moncton. The forum provided an opportunity for Horizon staff working in the primary health care field to learn about the collective actions health teams throughout Horizon are leading with communities in response to the identified Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) priorities. The CHNA priorities identify the strengths and needs of individual communities and enable community-wide health and wellness establishments to improve the populations’ health status. “Horizon’s Community Health Program is grounded in the understanding that an individual’s environment greatly influences their own health and the health of a community,” said Jean Daigle, Horizon’s Vice President, Community. “The Primary Health Care Education Forum was an excellent “That’s rewarding, because we know when patients have a provider, they’re healthier, and less likely to be hospitalized,” Stephanie said. The Patient Connect NB list is vital, because it helps with recruitment. For example, if a municipality is pushing to have more doctors in their area, but the number of patients on the list for that area is low, it’s difficult to recruit. If there is a high number of patients on the list, the access coordinators use that as a tactic to recruit a provider for that area. Kerri Mullin, Horizon’s PHCAC for the Miramichi area, said she enjoys the collaborative approach that comes with the role, which includes “seeing and learning about the available resources in our community to provide a link for physicians, nurse practitioners and patients.” “And at the end of the day it’s a great feeling to know that you’ve been instrumental in helping someone find a primary care provider because we all deserve to have a provider to care for us
opportunity to reflect on this understanding, build partnerships, share best practices and move knowledge into action.” Keynote speakers discussed how the CHNAs help health teams better understand the unique needs and assets of the communities Horizon serves, and how the shared regional priorities will act to guide Horizon’s next steps in primary health care planning and service delivery. Forum attendees learned how community developers at Horizon are putting CHNA priorities into action and are working in collaboration with communities to support the evolution of community-based primary health care. The forum brought together over 200 leaders from across Horizon’s Primary Health Care program, representing the various communities Horizon serves. and help navigate our health care,” she said. The PHCACs work with new physicians and retiring physicians to ease transitions. If a physician retires and someone new takes over their practice, the PHCAC ensures the new physician has a good understanding of the practice before they come on board. They provide coordination and assistance to new physicians and nurse practitioners to enhance their practice while ensuring the primary health care needs and gaps in the communities are addressed. Understanding a community’s need is essential to the role these PCHACs play in health care in New Brunswick. They understand the specific needs of the area they serve to ensure the proper services are in place in order to continue helping people be healthy. For general inquiries regarding primary health care access, email PHCAccess@HorizonNB.ca.
Karen McGrath President and CEO
Over the summer Horizon felt the nursing shortage while many staff took their vacation to enjoy the summer weather. We encourage our staff to take the vacation they deserve, but it’s times such as peak vacation time or flu season that we become acutely aware of the worsening nursing shortage. As CEO I strongly support the initiatives identified in the government plan and hope that we are able to welcome nurses to our organization soon! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - I love reading the Top 10 section of the Horizon Star, as it allows me insight to many of the things that are important to each of you. It’s wonderful to learn about the many things you are doing to reduce waste and save our environment. I know in my household we do our best to be environmentally conscious, and after reading many of the incredible things you do both at work and at home with your families I’m empowered to do even more! I hope you’re settling into fall after the amazing summer weather we had. Sincerely,
Horizon hosts Primary Health Care Education Forum
with new ideas. Happy reading,
GinaBeth Roberts Editor, Horizon Star
Karen McGrath President and CEO Horizon Health Network
Want to tell your colleagues about the services you provide for patients and staff throughout Horizon? Email HorizonStar@HorizonNB.ca .
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