May 21, 2024

As part of the Provincial Government’s continued efforts to re-imagine health care delivery in Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services (NL Health Services) will launch a new virtual care solution this fall that will increase access to health care for rural areas and residents who do not have a primary care provider.

The Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Health and Community Services, made the announcement today as part of the latest Health Care Action update. Minister Osborne was joined by Dr. Pat Parfrey, Deputy Minister of Health Transformation, and Stephen Greene, Vice President – Digital Health and Chief Information Officer, NL Health Services.

The virtual care service will include:

  • Virtual primary care for residents who do not have a primary care provider and have registered on patient connect. This access will be through a virtual physician available Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.;
  • A virtual emergency room that will ensure virtual physician coverage 24 hours per day, seven days per week to emergency departments in select rural health care facilities that do not have local physician coverage; and
  • Other needed physician coverage such as urgent care centres.

A contract valued at $11 million annually has been awarded to Teladoc to provide virtual technology, as well as physician coverage for two years. The new virtual care service is another pathway to improving access to care. The Provincial Government is also improving access through 19 previously-announced Family Care Teams, and through a successful recruitment strategy that has recruited more than 72 doctors since April.

The service will begin with the launch of the Virtual Emergency Room at the Dr. Y. K. Jeon Kittiwake Health Centre in New-Wes-Valley this week, and will expand to other communities in the following months.

Residents who are registered through Patient Connect or other provincial wait lists and have a valid MCP will receive a letter in the mail informing them of how they can access the virtual care service. This will be rolled out in the upcoming months, with the first eligible residents receiving a letter in the upcoming weeks.

Residents who do not have a primary care provider and who have not registered for Patient Connect can do so at  via phone at 1-833-913-4679. NL Health Services will continue to work to assign those who register to a Family Care Team or primary health care provider when one becomes available in their area.

More information on the virtual care service can be found at virtualcarenl.ca.

More details on the Provincial Government’s recent health care actions are available by visiting healthcareaction.ca. Details on recruitment of health care professionals are available by visiting workinhealthNL.ca.

Information on tenders and requests for proposals issued and awarded by the Provincial Government and other public bodies are available by visiting www.merx.com/govnl.

Quotes
“This service is a proven way to provide health care services in communities where it is difficult to recruit health care positions. This contract means more people will have greater access to emergency care in rural emergency departments, and people without  a primary care provider will have increased access to primary health care. We continue our recruitment for all health care professionals and look forward to building on our recruitment successes.”
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Health and Community Services

“The expansion of virtual care services represents NL Health Services’ commitment to increasing access and reshaping the health-care system as envisioned by Health Accord NL. Through the use of new technology, we are pleased to be able to offer virtual primary care and virtual emergency care services which will add new capacity for our health system, so that individuals can get care when and where they need it most.”
Stephen Greene
Vice President – Digital Health and Chief Information Officer, NL Health Services

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Learn more

Virtual Care NL

Health Care Action

Patient Connect

New Family Care Team in Clarenville Now Accepting Patients

New Family Care Team in Central Zone Now Accepting Patients

New Family Care Team Established in Grand Falls-Windsor

New Family Care Team in Western Zone Now Accepting Patients

New Family Care Teams Announced for Newfoundland and Labrador

Work in Health NL

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