House calls could help system: NLMA president

Barb Sweet
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Possible solution draws on an old idea

The head of the province’s medical association wants to see some talk in contract negotiations with the province about new ways family doctors can help relieve pressure on emergency rooms.

And those new ways could draw on an old idea.

Dr. Yordan Karaivanov, a family doctor in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Associaton (NLMA) does several house calls a week.

The NLMA’s board hasn’t approved a mandate for contract talks, Karaivanov said.

But from his president’s tour here and meetings with presidents of medical associations in other provinces, he said there’s dire need for innovation in how to reduce demand on the ER.

That innovation could include house calls, more after-hours clinics and family doctors talking to more patients on the phone and having more involvement in treating patients in hospital.

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Karaivanov considers house calls, as well as phone calls to and from patients, as part of normal practice.

“What we have to remind ourselves as a profession is in order to maintain standing in the eyes of society we have to live up to the expectations,” Karaivanov said.

“I don’t want to impose my personal belief and style to other people, but we are going to look to incorporate incentives for those behaviours in our new contract.”

He said expanded after-hours clinics have had some success in British Columbia.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Associaton

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay, British Columbia.bsweet

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