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Margaret Melanson is the interim president and CEO of the Horizon Health Network. Image: Brad Perry

Horizon Health rolling out new primary care model

By Brad Perry Mar 4, 2024 | 6:27 AM

A nationally recognized collaborative primary health care model is being rolled out within the Horizon Health Network.

The Patient Medical Home model brings together physicians, nurse practitioners, and other providers under one roof.

Margaret Melanson, the interim president and CEO, said the interdisciplinary model sees patients attached to a truly collaborative team.

“Do you need to see the doctor, or if you are a diabetic, could you see the nurse? Do you need help with your medication? In that case, maybe you need to see a pharmacist,” Melanson told reporters after a recent board meeting.

The goal, she said, is to help reduce the number of New Brunswickers who are waiting for a primary care provider.

Melanson said they are working to expand the model to new sites in Sussex, Sackville and Fredericton, which have been identified as the highest priority.

The health authority is also modernizing its 46 existing community health centres through the model. Five sites have already been completed, with 12 others planned for 2024.

Melanson said the model will allow physicians and nurse practitioners to have a larger patient roster since they will not need to see each patient every visit.

The interim president and CEO said the collaborative model is also what medical students are learning when they are taking their training.

“They graduate wanting to come into a setting that is established for them, where they’re working with a team and providing care for their patients, not having to be businesspeople and worrying about rents and some of these other things,” she said.

Melanson was also asked about the enhancement of the electronic medical system, which she said is “integral” to this collaborative model.

“The electronic health record allows care providers within this collaborative setting to all be documenting concurrently for that patient, so someone reading could see the visits that were held with a physiotherapist as well as with the doctor and so forth,” said Melanson.

“It’s also important between settings. If someone is going to an emergency department, then a care provider would be able to look at that record and see what had occurred at that local site that they would have been receiving primary care at.”

Horizon Health has submitted budget estimates to the province for the modernizations and new builds.