January 30, 2009

First Shriners Hospitals for Children Satellite Clinic Opens in Winnipeg

This morning, Shriners Hospitals for Children (SHC) - Canada, the Rehabilitation Centre for Children of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and the Khartum Shriners announced the official opening of the first ever Shriners Hospitals Satellite Orthopaedic Clinic. The purpose of the Clinic is to evaluate children referred from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, or North Western Ontario, to Shriners Hospitals for Children, to determine whether they can be treated in Winnipeg or whether they need to be seen in at SHC-Canada in Montreal for specialized orthopaedic care. The new Shriners clinic is one of 14 clinics available at the Rehabilitation Centre for Children to children with special needs. In the first year, the Clinic will function as a pilot project operating a half day per month approximately 10 times/year.

The Clinic will operate under the auspices of Shriners Hospitals for Children but will be staffed by orthopaedic surgeons who are credentialed in both the Shriners and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's systems.

According to Dr. Susan Thompson, "The primary purpose of the Clinic will be assessment and diagnosis." If children assessed at the Clinic require further treatment that can be managed locally (i.e., surgery, orthotics, physiotherapy, etc.) they will be referred from the Clinic back into the Winnipeg health care system. If a child requires transfer to Montreal for orthopaedic surgery, this will be arranged and administered through the Clinic, in coordination with Shriners Hospitals for Children. After a child has surgery at SHC-Canada, the Clinic will provide physician follow-up such as post surgery evaluation, cast removal and arranging care and rehabilitation with any local resources required. Shriners Hospitals will have a clinic coordinator from Montreal attend the Clinic to liaise with families and the hospital for any resources under the Shriners Hospitals system and help the patients/family should it be determined that surgery will take place in Montreal.

Dr. Brian Postl, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said the clinic will ensure children get the most appropriate care, in the most appropriate place. "Any child who can be seen and treated here at home will be," Dr. Postl said. "But those who would benefit from specialized care in Montreal will get that." He said many families will benefit from being able to get the follow-up care they need in Winnipeg, even if they've had surgery in Montreal.

All costs related to the Clinic will be covered by SHC-Canada. Physicians will bill Manitoba Health on a fee-for-service basis for services rendered.

"This Satellite Clinic represents transportation cost savings for SHC-Canada and the Khartum Shriners. More importantly, we will be able to help more patients from this area, as well as reduce stress, travel and time away from home, school and work for these families," details Céline Doray, Administrator at SHC-Canada.

Khartum Shriners of Winnipeg will provide support for this Clinic in the form of fundraising, volunteers and publicity. Referrals to the Clinic will originate through the regular Shriners Hospitals' process (i.e., potential patients are referred to Montreal from the Shrine Centers from dedicated areas/provinces, Manitoba or other provincial health care systems). The Shriners Hospital, once in receipt of the referral will contact the Clinic assistant at RCC to book appointments with families.

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