BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: There’s already plenty of healthcare options at Medical Associates of Port Perry - and there’s more on the way, say Doctor Anthony Brown and Business Administrator Stephen Gray.
The two gave local media an exclusive tour of their new crown jewel, the Medical Associates of Port Perry clinic building, on Monday, October 7. Located on Paxton St., across from the Port Perry Lakeridge Health hospital, the new building offers an extensive range of services for everything its 30,000 patients could ever need, in a one-stop-service setting.
The $6 million investment, which broke ground in July 2011, has expanded the formerly small clinic from 37,000 square feet to a spacious 62,000 square feet and added an additional 41 parking spots. The project, financed entirely by the physicians who operated the clinic and without government funding, aimed to increase the comfort of patients, expand the range of services offered, and to support the hospital by gaining the ability to perform procedures on an outpatient basis. There are currently 34 doctors on-site, while an additional 15 to 20 heathcare providers and support staff will be hired to fill offices.
"The new building is brighter and more pleasant for patients and doctors alike," said Dr. Brown. "The key to our expansion is adding many more services, all available in the same building. We hope that this will reduce stress and travel time on our patients."
The North Durham Family Health Team will provide many of the new services available; these will include aspects of mental health, pre-emptive health education, diabetes and nutrition services, smoking cessation and COPD/Asthma care. Even the specialized services such as physiotherapy, audiology and nuclear medicine are expanding due to the increase in space allowances.
"From foot care to immunizations and nutritionists to psychologists, anything a family could need is available in the same location," explained Mr. Gray. "With this new space, we can even refer patients to specialists within our building, all covered by OHIP."
Along with more natural light and accessible hallways, bathrooms and doors, the new floor plan allows surgeons and doctors to share a common reception area and working office. The bottom floor of the new MAPP building even features a board room where all of its physicians, staff, and patients can meet for educational workshops and idea sharing. The increased space also allows greater opportunity for Port Perry to take part in physician recruitment and offer residency and training to medical students from the University of Ontario and Queens University.
"Our doctors have been given comfortable common rooms where they can meet with patients privately for phone calls and paperwork, or share ideas with fellow physicians," said Dr. Brown. "This is helpful to improve procedural speed, aid communication and to continue our education by working closely with one another."
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the MAPP clinic, the brand-new procedural room, allows physicians to treat minor outpatient clinical problems, affectionately referred to as ‘lumps and bumps’ that would otherwise be a strain on the hospital across the street. The spacious room, featuring relaxing décor, a comfortable operation bed, and adjacent bathroom facilities, will be fully operational very soon, after some final cabinetry is installed.
Dr. Brown and Mr. Gray explained that the procedural room can be used to treat skin problems, remove sutures and tissues for testing, take blood in a sterile environment and help patients of all ages and sizes.
Even the issue of patients having difficulty finding parking, due to people historically using the free clinic parking lot to access the hospital, has been tackled.
"Many hospital employees and visitors park in the MAPP lot, often for the entire day," reads a MAPP press release. "Patient complaints about this issue have risen drastically in the past 12 months, in January 2014, MAPP will introduce a reasonable parking charge of $4 per day, competitive with the rates at the hospital."
Residents need not despair. MAPP says that this reasonable parking increase is only to ensure that patients have access to parking spots when they come for appointments. In addition, parking will be validated inside the building and discounted to $2, and payment and validation can be done via a machine in the main lobby.
When Dr. Brown and Mr. Gray spoke to Scugog Township Council on Monday, October 7, they mentioned that the possibility of a parking pass or transponder for frequent visitors is being pursued.
"I commend both of you on your brilliance in offering great medical service to this community. Every member of Scugog should be proud of what you do," said Mayor Chuck Mercier at council. "In the end, health is very important, including the pre-emptive and mental health services you provide. Regarding the parking payment, there is always a financial component to everything we have to do; yet we are still thankful to have services located in Port Perry and not have to drive long distances."
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