On the heels of finally losing round-the-clock emergency coverage, Kaslo may become part of a telemedicine pilot project.
Rural regional district director Andy Shadrack says a proposal is being discussed with Interior Health on a program called LiveCare, which is currently available at Nelson’s health co-op and provides remote access to family doctors and specialists.
“They’re also interested in doing an ER pilot project,” Shadrack told 103.5 The Bridge. “We as a community are very interested and have notified Interior Health.”
Shadrack said a number of grant programs would have to be in place. LiveCare is also in discussions with Logan Lake, he added, “so maybe this is something Interior Health could look at for all its remote communities.”
After several reprieves and frequent closures, the ER at Kaslo’s Victorian Community Health Centre has finally reverted to Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but even that was fraught with challenges. Although the change was supposed to take effect April 1, due to an ongoing physician shortage, the emergency room was actually closed from the evening of March 27 until the morning of April 2. Two days later it closed again for lack of nursing staff. However, Interior Health said that was just a one-off scheduling problem.
Shadrack said even if the telemedicine project goes ahead, it doesn’t change the need for Kaslo to recruit more physicians: “That’s still the backbone for the clinic. Then it’s how to build the add-ons to get the care.”