Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation receives final government funding; announces Primary Care Team and first tenants
(photo): Laura Fitzgerald (L) and Lindsay Downey will be joining the BICHC and expanding access to primary care on Bowen.
The Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation (BIHCF), the owners and operators of the Bowen Island Community Health Centre, has received the operational funding and approvals it needs from the BC Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health to allow the Foundation to move into operations mode — a critical step in fulfilling their promise to bring health care close to home on Bowen Island.
While funding and approvals were not in question, the funding letter and operational approval was needed to allow the Foundation to enter into contracts with health care professionals and leases with other tenants in the building. A firm opening date will be announced once the operational plan develops further and construction is completed.
“This is the final stamp of approval we needed to get on with the business of delivering primary care and other health care services on Bowen,” says BIHCF Chair Tim Rhodes. “It is a momentous day for the community, for patients, for our volunteer board and everyone who has supported our vision of putting community health care in community hands.”
It also means BIHCF can announce the names of the primary health care team that will substantially expand access to health care and related services on the island.
- Dr. Susanne Schloegl and Dr. Matt Blackwood will move their practices to the BICHC. Dr. Schloegl and Dr. Blackwood have been instrumental in helping to advance the BICHC and develop the model for community health care delivery on Bowen. Dr. Blackwood will also serve as Medical Director.
- Laura Fitzgerald, MN-NP (F), Nurse Practitioner, will launch a new practice at the Health Centre. Nurse Practitioners are playing an increasingly important role in primary care deliver in B.C. and we are thrilled to have Laura on board. More details about Laura and her scope of services to come.
- Dr. Lindsay Downey has moved with her family from Ontario to live on Bowen and join the BICHC. She has practiced as a Family Physician for the past 14 years.
- An additional Family Physician will join the BICHC in January 2024 and we will announce the appointment as soon as we can.
- Margit Brenner will be joining as the BICHC Office Manager and Senior Medical Office Assistant (MOA). She will be joined by Rita Dempsey, who many residents may know as Dr. Schloegl’s and Dr. Hurlburt’s former MOA, as part of our MOA administration team.
- Colleen O’Neil will be continuing her support of the community as a Community Health Worker.
In addition, we are excited to announce the first tenants at the Bowen Island Community Health Centre:
- The Bowen Island Dental Group will provide on-island access to a complete range of dental services. Three dentists will work from the new dental practice: Dr. Elysa Kliman, Dr. Peter Kearney and
Dr. Clive Jones. More information about the Bowen Island Dental Group can be found at www.bowenislanddental.ca.
- A dedicated lab collection facility (to be named later).
Bowen Island Community Health Centre Executive Director Suzanne Saatchi was instrumental in securing the final agreement on behalf of the Foundation. She says the agreement means the team can turn their attention from construction to operations and informing people about what they can expect when the doors to the Health Centre open.
“Our vision has been to create an integrated and multi-disciplinary health centre on the Island, and we are poised to do just that,” she says.
What Bowen Islanders need to know:
- Our official name is: The Bowen Island Community Health Centre (www.bowenhealthcentre.com)
- If you are interested in becoming a patient of a Family Physician or Nurse Practitioner at the Bowen Island Community Health Centre and don’t currently have a doctor, here are the steps:
– Visit GP Link at: https://ns.searchdoctors.ca
– Register your name and/or other members of your family
– Be sure to indicate Bowen Island as your desired location
– If you are currently a patient of Dr. Schloegl or Dr. Blackwood there is no need to do anything. They will continue to treat you through their practices at the BICHC.
If you currently have a primary care provider off Bowen Island but would like to see a member of the Health Centre primary care team closer to home on Bowen, please register at GP Link.
GP Link is a website organized by the North Shore Division of Family Practice and has been the longstanding patient queue for the North Shore region to find a FP or NP. You cannot get on a list by contacting the Health Centre or the Foundation.
3. The Bowen Island Community Health Centre will not provide emergency service or response. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.
4. The Bowen Island Community Health Centre is not a walk-in clinic. While there will be some hours dedicated each day to walk-in patients, priority will be given to patients who are attached to one of the Family Physicians or Nurse Practitioners. The best way to receive on-island care is to go to GP Link and register to be attached to one of our primary care providers.
5. The Bowen Island Community Health Centre was built as a result of more than $8M in private donations (with an additional $1M provincial government grant) from more than 550 Bowen Island families and supporters. Annual operational funding will come from the provincial government.