Pan Am Clinic to take 50,000 patients from ERs


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THE province hopes to relieve pressure on Winnipeg's overcrowded emergency rooms by channelling more than 50,000 patients each year to the Pan Am Clinic for treatment of minor injuries.

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This article was published 11/01/2005 (6474 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE province hopes to relieve pressure on Winnipeg’s overcrowded emergency rooms by channelling more than 50,000 patients each year to the Pan Am Clinic for treatment of minor injuries.

Dr. Wayne Hildahl, general manager of the Pan Am Clinic, confirmed the new Minor Injuries Clinic holds the promise of speedier treatment for patients with non-life-threatening injuries, who often face intolerable waits in traditional emergency rooms.

“The goal of this program is to relieve some of the backlog in the emergency departments,” Hildahl said in an interview. “A lot of these problems, while they’re minor, are hard to be disposed of and clog up the emergency rooms. When they go to the hospital, they’re not a high priority.”

Pan Am will now open extended hours, seven days a week to treat patients with injuries such as separated shoulders, ruptured Achilles tendons, locked knees and broken ankles. Pan Am has developed a strong reputation in treating injuries of this type through its focus on sports medicine.

With a growing plastic surgery department, Pan Am will also be able to handle minor burns and lacerations, Hildahl added.

The province will contribute an additional $2.1 million annually to help Pan Am with the expanded hours and additional services.

The addition of emergency patients to Pan Am’s workload was one of a number of recommendations made in last year’s emergency room task force report.

The task force was launched in the wake of several emergency room incidents.

Jan Currie, vice-president of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said the ER report clearly identified opportunities to take advantage of additional capacity at Pan Am.

Now, Winnipeggers will have a greater range of choice for their emergency medical needs, from the traditional ERs in major hospitals, to the urgent care centre at Misericordia Hospital, and the Pan Am’s minor injuries clinic, Currie said.

Pan Am will now be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. If the minor injuries clinic proves to be a success, Hildahl said he is considering extending the hours even further.

Patients will be able to go directly to Pan Am for treatment without referral from an emergency room, Hildahl noted. St. Boniface General Hospital will also direct patients to Pan Am if their injuries are appropriate for the minor injuries clinic.

The newly expanded Pan Am clinic will allow patients to receive primary care, imaging, surgery and therapy under one roof, the only facility of its kind in Manitoba to offer that level of service, Hildahl said.

Since it was purchased from its private owners in 2001 for about $17 million, Pan Am Clinic has been the source of intense political scrutiny, while undergoing significant expansion both in size and mandate.

Originally specializing in sports medicine, the clinic now performs a wide range of orthopedic and plastic surgeries.

The clinic just opened a $4-million addition last year which has added new treatment and surgical space, and housing for an MRI machine.

Last July, Pan Am struck a deal with the Workers’ Compensation Board to offer injured workers expedited access to MRI scans. Pan Am also began taking on less severe hand-laceration cases from the Health Sciences Centre to relieve chronic backlogs in plastic surgeries.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives have consistently criticized the NDP government for purchasing the clinic.
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