Sylvan Lake urgent care committee making strides towards Family Care Centre

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee is continuing to plug away at making a local Family Care Centre a reality. “The province sets some very clear processes that we need to follow,” said Susan Samson, chair of the committee. “The next step is we have to form a non-profit corporation because we will be applying for grant funding and we need to be accountable for it.”

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee is continuing to plug away at making a local Family Care Centre a reality.

“The province sets some very clear processes that we need to follow,” said Susan Samson, chair of the committee. “The next step is we have to form a non-profit corporation because we will be applying for grant funding and we need to be accountable for it.”

The group is working with JLT Management Consulting as well as a lawyer to make this happen.

“Then like everything else, it will go over to registries and we will wait,” Samson said. “All these steps are important . . . . The hard thing is there is nothing concrete in the interim.”

Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said that he is confident the province will find ways to make a Family Care Centre (FCC) work for the town, referencing a recent meeting with the acting assistant deputy minister, Dr. Alan Casson, and a personal phone conversation with Health Minister Fred Horne.

The provincial government announced earlier this month $45 million in funding to push through nine FCCs, including one in Sylvan Lake.

FCCs, a controversial part of former premier Alison Redford’s 2012 election platform, are based in a single location and provide medical services specially tailored to its community.

Three FCCs that began as pilot projects are in operation in Calgary, Edmonton and Slave Lake.

“The important thing for us is the FCC model is the same thing we have always been asking for when we’ve talked about urgent care and that is: medical services for non-life threatening injuries available seven days a week for extended hours, lab and X-ray on site and the ability to have observation beds for short term, like three-to-four-hour treatments,” Samson said.

The grant funding, secured once there is a non-profit corporation established, will go towards drawing up an FCC business plan, which will clearly identify a site, the operating cost and the services that will be offered, as well as the cost of those individual services.

That part of the process will take a “considerable” amount of time, said Samson as it will be done in consultation with the Town of Sylvan Lake and outlying communities, including Eckville, Bentley, Benalto and the surrounding Red Deer and Lacombe counties.

Samson said she expected the business plan to be done sometime in 2014.

“That will move us onto the next step where the province will say, ‘Yes I like what you’re proposing, yes we can do this, let’s roll.’ So in a perfect world we’ll be at that stage at the end of this year.”

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