Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Stuck for a Doc? Use Pam

Automated phone service makes finding a doc easy

By Asma Farooq, CDFP


ommunity members from Chilliwack to Boston Bar who do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner can just ‘call PAM’ (Patient Attachment Mechanism). PAM is a dedicated phone line that serves as a single point of contact for local residents who want to be connected to a primary care clinic, a family doctor or a nurse practitioner in the community.


The Chilliwack Division of Family Practice established PAM with funding from A GP for Me, a joint initiative of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC. A GP for Me aims to improve access to primary care and help more British Columbians who want a primary care provider to find one.

Locally A GP for Me is being led by the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice, a not for profit society that represents family doctors and nurse practitioners in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Seabird Island, and Hope.

Initially, patient intake sites and healthcare professionals are directing efforts and resources specifically to residents who do not have a regular family doctor or nurse practitioner, also identified as ‘unattached patients.’ These individuals can call PAM (Patient Attachment Mechanism) at:

• Chilliwack, Agassiz, and Harrison: 604-795-0034
• Toll free from Hope and the Fraser Canyon: 1-844-795-0034

When an unattached patient calls PAM, they will be asked to complete a Patient Intake Form to provide their medical information. The patient will then be assessed, and if required, cared for by a team of family doctors and nurse practitioners at a primary care clinic before being transitioned to a community practice. Unattached individuals who are also experiencing complex
health conditions and/or vulnerable circumstances will be prioritized for immediate attachment to a provider.

Patients whose primary care provider is not located in their community, or who are facing difficulties with their current family doctor or nurse practitioner, will not be included in the first phase of this attachment initiative. Instead, they are encouraged to openly discuss the challenges they are facing and possible solutions with their primary care provider. Patients who
are looking for additional guidance with issues can read information on the division website.

The Chilliwack Division’s A GP for Me Patient Attachment Supervisor, Jennica Grenier, invites individuals who don’t currently have a primary care provider to call PAM. “People who call should be prepared to provide us with complete information about their current health issues and medical history so we can get them the most appropriate care as efficiently as possible.” PAM is one of six A GP for Me strategies the Division is advancing, with Fraser Health and community partners, to improve the capacity and delivery of local primary care services, including:


• Increased support for the Chilliwack Primary Care Clinic: More patients who do not have a primary care provider can get services until they can be attached to a regular provider.

• Expanded rural services and outreach programs: Ongoing work in Hope and Fraser Canyon communities is improving access to primary care for new mothers, Aboriginal and seniors’ populations.

• A comprehensive GP for Me physician recruitment and retention strategy: Aims to fill current gaps and future vacancies when physicians retire or move away from the community, while retaining existing family doctors practicing in the community.

• Practice support and coaching for doctors and medical staff: A partnership with Fraser Health provides customized support for busy medical practices, to help them find office efficiencies to create capacity and enhance the delivery of patient care.

• Enhanced community education and awareness: Information and weekly blogs on the Division website, and education sessions sponsored by the Division and community partners, help people learn about when, how and where to access primary care.


About the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice
The Chilliwack Division of Family Practice is part of the Divisions of Family Practice initiative, funded by a joint committee of the BC Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC. There are 34 Divisions of Family Practice in B.C. in more than 220 communities.

The Chilliwack Division of Family Practice is not-for-profit group of family physicians and nurse practitioners from Chilliwack, Agassiz-Harrison, Seabird Island and Hope that work collaboratively with the Fraser Health Authority and other partners to develop, fund and administer community-specific programs that enhance patient care and improve professional
satisfaction for physicians. www.divisionsbc.ca/chilliwack/home.

About A GP for Me
A GP for Me is a joint initiative of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC – formerly the BC Medical Association – aimed at strengthening the health care system by supporting the relationship between patients and family doctors. Research shows continuous doctor-patient relationships lead to the best health outcomes for patients.



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