On Friday, February 16th, the City of Lakes Family Health Team highlighted a new primary care poverty reduction strategy: an innovative local project, which uses technology such as patient surveys on tablets and electronic medical record forms, to evaluate and provide support for low-income patients. Poverty is a critical social determinant of health. Primary care providers have a role in helping their patients access resources that can help them overcome income security challenges.
The day included a media event, a community partners meeting and a Bridges out of Poverty workshop.
The media event highlighted the pilot program for poverty screening survey. Patients that are screened for low income receive support and information about relevant government benefits and services from their healthcare provider during their visit, along with a custom list of local services pulled from Ontario 211. The Ontario Centre for Effective Practice is piloting the program in four clinics across Ontario. The data collected through the initiative will contribute to a body of knowledge that will support poverty reduction programs across the province. MPP Glenn Thibeault was on hand to announce support from the Government of Ontario through the Local Poverty Reduction Fund.
The community partners meeting included representatives from the City of Greater Sudbury, Sudbury Public Health, United Way, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Social Planning Council as well as family physicians and others members of the team. The purpose was to discuss opportunities to connect low income patients with the resources that they need in the community.
The Bridges out of Poverty workshop was led by Sudbury Public Health facilitators and provided awareness about poverty in order to inspire compassion and a commitment to poverty reduction. Members of the team were invited to look at poverty differently through these interactive workshops and learn more about the social and economic impacts that poverty has on individuals in our community.