TAYLOR, B.C. – With between 30 and 40 people in attendance this morning, some from Taylor and some from surrounding areas, the District of Taylor and Council took time to address concerns when it comes to the Taylor Medical Clinic and the situation they currently are sitting in.
Before the discussion between Council, they allowed those in attendance the chance to share any concerns and/or questions they had regarding the situation.
Many expressed the positive experiences they have had with the Clinic and what it means to them personally to have care accessible. One person even shared how it literally saved their life after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
Livecare stepped up to help the Clinic after the original partnership with the Fort St. John Medical Clinic came to an end. Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser noted that Livecare is a private company and business. Through Livecare, patients are able to access doctors through the internet and other ways using technology.
Rob Fraser said that one issue that the Clinic is currently experiencing is how the government views the service.
“The problem is, the way the province pays the telemedicine. Telemedicine is different but with the structure that the Medical Services Plan pays under, it pays them in the same form of a Medeo where you just phone up the doctor, you have a doctor and they give you a prescription or whatever and they get paid. There is no recognition that this service is different in that it has a component to it that is costly and it is an investment that requires more than somebody just at the end of a phone somewhere and there has been no recognition.”
He says they have, as well as Livecare, lobbied to have this service recognized as different from other services that may be similar to it.
Fraser says the reports that they have been seeing are showing that the Clinic is not being used as much as it is needed in order to fund it over the full year. He says Livecare is committed to the patients and to Taylor but the question of whether or not this is viable for them anymore is the issue.
The District of Taylor says that before any decisions are made, they would like to make one more push to have meetings with doctors, the Ministry as well as Northern Health.
“Whether or not Livecare continues, this Council is committed to keeping the Clinic working. If Livecare does pull out, we have to figure out how we recruit a doctor to the Clinic.”
There are a few options that are being looked at such as guaranteeing Livecare some sort of profit, closing the Clinic or the Municipality taking over the clinic themselves.
“Take over the billing. When the MSP payments come, they would come to us and not to Livecare and we are fully in control of all of the business aspects. We would need a series of open houses, a series of staff reports, how many staff we might need, overall cost. What is the cost of setting up the business for the healthcare clinic?”
The District emphasized that nothing has been submitted by Livecare in terms of when/if they could stop serving the Clinic but they have mentioned the end of March could be the deadline but nothing is in stone until they have received written notice from Livecare.
They are planning to speak to Livecare soon and get more information and numbers on cost and then hold more open meetings to the public to gather feedback and ideas.