Program expands, connecting more people with primary care20 January 2023
FREDERICTON (GNB) – A program that helps people without their own doctor or nurse practitioner access primary care has expanded to the Fredericton and Woodstock areas.
NB Health Link provides access to a network of family doctors and nurse practitioners. It offers in-person appointments, as well as the option for telephone and online appointments.
“We are pleased to mark the expansion of this service into the Fredericton and Woodstock regions, providing people with primary care until they can be matched with a permanent primary care provider,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “NB Health Link is an important connection between patients and primary health care. It helps ensure New Brunswickers have access to the care they need in a timely fashion and prevents non-urgent visits to our emergency rooms.”
To date, 14,207 people have registered with the program while 5,959 confirmed they already have a health-care provider.
NB Health Link is being implemented in collaboration with Extra-Mural/Ambulance New Brunswick, which is managed by Medavie Health Services New Brunswick.
Once registered, patients can call NB Health Link’s toll-free phone number or visit the online portal to be triaged to determine whether an in-person, telephone or online appointment is needed. The program is supported by a centralized electronic health record that follows a patient through each appointment.
The NB Health Link model will be adapted and scaled to meet the different needs of communities across the province. Service New Brunswick will continue its role of contacting those on the Patient Connect NB list in other health zones.
Access to primary care is one of five pillars of the government’s health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action; others are access to surgery; creating a connected system; access to addiction and mental health services; and supporting seniors to age in place.
Efforts continue to reach everyone on the list in zones 1 (Moncton region), 3 (Fredericton region) and 5 (Campbellton region). When staff get no answer, they make two more attempts to reach the patient by phone at different times on different days and then mail them a letter. When they encounter an out-of-service phone or the wrong number, they make efforts to locate an in-service number.
To date, NB Health Link has clinics established in Moncton, Dieppe, Dalhousie, Woodstock and Fredericton. Clinics in other regions are scheduled to open later this year.