New Partnership to Benefit Breast Screening Patients without Primary Care Provider
Published Thursday, August 24, 2023
Members of the Lakehead Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic team (Left to right): Pam Delgaty, Executive Director; Crystal Kaukinen, Nurse Practitioner (NP); Stephanie Malyko, Jenna Coderre, NP; Stacy Roberts, NP. Absent: Carolan Thayer, NP; Robin Latimer, NP; Jamie Lindberg, NP; Kelsey Hoogsteen, NP; and Katrina Hill, NP.
A new partnership between Prevention and Screening Clinical Services at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and Lakehead Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic (LNPLC) will ensure patients without a primary care provider are being screened for breast cancer and will get the follow-up care required in a timely manner.
In the Thunder Bay area, there are over 30,000 individuals without a Primary Care Provider (i.e. family physician or nurse practitioner), referred to as unattached patients. Prior to this partnership, unattached patients requiring follow-up from a routine breast screening mammogram would have to facilitate it through a walk in clinic or the emergency department.
Thanks to this new partnership, unattached patients who require follow up after having a routine breast screening mammogram at an Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) site in Thunder Bay, now have the option of having it through the LNPLC. These patients are assigned a Nurse Practitioner at LNPLC who receives a copy of the patient’s test results and facilitates any necessary additional testing.
“Our clinic is pleased to partner with TBRHSC to offer this important access to care,” says Pam Delgaty, Executive Director at LNPLC. “Abnormal mammogram results are difficult for patients to understand and can be intimidating at best. Our team’s goal is to help these patients navigate the system and in doing so, relieve some of the anxiety they may be experiencing.”
As a result of this new partnership, individuals requiring follow-up due to abnormal results will be connected for further imaging and care in a more seamless manner, instead of having to search for a primary care provider through other avenues, such as emergency department and walk-in clinics.
“Often times, there are delays for unattached patients between completing the screening, receiving the result and waiting for a primary care provider to facilitate follow-up,” explains Tarja Heiskanen, Manager of Screening and Assessment at TBRHSC. “The hope is that this partnership will significantly reduce wait times.”
Heiskanen adds, “Individuals who may be reluctant to get screened for cancer because they do not have a primary care provider, can self-refer themselves for breast screening and feel less anxiety knowing they will be cared for after when follow-up is required”