Renfrew County’s Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre expands to South Algonquin

RENFREW COUNTY – South Algonquin residents now have easy access to a new 24/7 health-care service that is strengthening primary care for more people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Renfrew County Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre (RC VTAC) is now available for South Algonquin residents who have a non-urgent health issue and do not have a family physician/nurse practitioner or cannot reach their family physician/nurse practitioner.

“We have many individuals in South Algonquin who do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner,” South Algonquin Township Mayor Jane Dumas said. “I like the way the VTAC model is laid out and I know there is truly need in our community.”

The approximate 1,100 permanent residents in South Algonquin typically access emergency care at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay – a RC VTAC partner hospital.

“It is a natural tie in for RC VTAC to serve South Algonquin residents and we’re pleased to expand our much-needed service to the community as a better way to access non-urgent care,” RC VTAC clinical coordinator Dr. Jonathan Fitzsimon said. “Our goal is to alleviate unnecessary pressure on our Emergency Departments, while ensuring that nobody is left at home to suffer without the care they need.”

Through the RC VTAC, family physicians, nurse practitioners and community paramedics assess and manage health concerns (including COVID-19 concerns) in multiple ways depending on the individual’s needs. This includes:

  • Phone appointments
  • Video appointments
  • In-home assessments and diagnostic testing by community paramedics
  • Remote monitoring and alerting and if necessary, escalation to a designated team of physicians and allied health professionals for the management of sicker patients at home
  • Referral to other services including mental health support

The RC VTAC has now assessed approximately 3,300 patients through a virtual visit with a family physician since it launched on March 27. In addition, nearly 2,600 patients received an in-home assessment by a community paramedic and the majority were eligible to be swabbed for COVID-19.
The RC VTAC is a collaboration between Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, Renfrew County Hospitals and the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, with the support of Ontario Health East. The service is covered by OHIP and can be accessed 24/7 by calling 1-844-727-6404.

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