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It’s official: Baffin board to use Ottawa

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

ANNETTE BOURGEOIS
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — Baffin health board members have voted to negotiate a five-year contract for southern medical services with a groups of Ottawa-based physicians.

The Baffin Regional Health and Social Services board made that decision during a teleconference Wednesday.

Last month the board gave tentative approval for the move from Montreal to Ottawa if it could be proven that’s it’s cost neutral.

“We’re satisfied with the cost issue,” health board chair Dennis Patterson said Wednesday, shortly after the decision was made. “Now we’ve got to make it work.”

No contract has been signed, but the board gave unanimous approval for officials to begin detailed negotiations with the Ottawa Health Services Network.

The board agreed to enter into a three-year contract, which is expected to begin April 1, with an option to extend that to five years.

Patterson added he expects savings in physician and hospital costs as a result of improved case management. He added residents can also anticipate shorter hospital stays.

The Ottawa service also proposes to incorporate more medical services at the community level which should reduce the need for patients to travel south for medical treatment.

The board will put a transition plan in place in an effort to ensure continuous medical service for patients. The Montreal-based patient residence will close, but a press release issued late Wednesday was sketchy on details.

“This decision will result in the eventual closure of Baffin House in Montreal after a transitional period,” the release states.

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