Health Services moves to family plan

The LaSalle Building houses Health, Counselling and Disability Services, which has adopted a Family Health Group model.
The LaSalle Building houses Health, Counselling and Disability Services, which has adopted a Family Health Group model.

Both first-year and returning students will be greeted with new documents to sign and a package of information to read upon their first visit to Health Services this school year.

Health, Counselling and Disability Services, located in the LaSalle Building, made the decision to adopt a ‘Family Health Group’ (FHG) model over the summer.

The FHG model provides students with added benefits. The service is part of a province-wide program.

“[The new model] suits a centre like ours best of all,” said Dr. Mike Condra, director of Health, Counselling, and Disability Services.

Condra said benefits of the new health plan include better-kept medical records and an after-hours telephone number where registered nurses will be on-call to answer health questions and address concerns.

Health Services will also now be open Monday and Wednesday nights until 7:30 p.m.

He said most importantly, every student who is an Ontario resident will have a regular doctor, allowing physicians to get to know their patients better over their four years at the University.

“In terms of [quality of] care, there will be no difference,” Condra said.

He said that before students are assigned a regular doctor, they will be consulted by Health Services staff.

Students will then be asked to sign a form stating they agree to be that doctor’s patient, if they choose to participate in the plan.

“[This] will in no way limit a student’s options,” Condra said.

If a doctor is not available for the day, or booked solid, students can still see any doctor that they wish, he said.

“The new family health plan is an effort to make a more comprehensive health care system with after-hours care,” Condra said. “It is all a part of the provincial government’s plan to reorganize primary health care and increase communication.” Since the Family Health Group extends province-wide, students can continue their participation in the plan after graduating from the University or while living at home for the summer, even if their family physician is part of a different group.

However, Condra said it’s not mandatory to register in the family health plan at Queen’s in order to receive healthcare at the University or anywhere else in Ontario.

The after-hours phone number allowing students to speak to a registered nurse is 1-866-553-7205. The nurses will have access to an on-call doctor for pressing emergencies.

For more information on the Family Health Group students can call 1-888-218-9929.

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