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Mayor 'disappointed' by foot-dragging on addiction medicine consult team

'Our community should not be made to wait' - Mayor Christian Provenzano
2016-04-12 City Flag Raising DMH-1
Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano. File photo by Donna Hopper/SooToday

Sault Ste. Marie urgently needs an addiction medicine consult team and shouldn't have to wait on provincial health officials and the North East Local Health Integration Network to figure out how to pay for it.

So says Mayor Christian Provenzano in a letter sent this week to Jérémy Stevenson, NE LHIN chief executive officer.

Stevenson advised Provenzano on Jan. 10 that Sault Area Hospital's proposal for a $248,437-a-year addiction team seems promising but offered no immediate cash for the project.

"We have examined the business case and commend the Sault Area Hospital team for identifying a model of care designed to support patients with addictions who are admitted to the hospital," Stevenson said.

"Models such as this could benefit people throughout the region of northeastern Ontario, and we are hopeful that as new provincial funding is announced we will be in a position to support this model of care in both Sault Ste. Marie and across our region."

Mayor Provenzano responded this week: "With respect to addiction medicine consult team, I find your response disappointing."

"I think it is positive that the LHIN would like to implement the Sault Ste. Marie proposal across northern Ontario," the mayor said.

"I hope you are able to secure the funds to do so. However, as and until you do, I do not think the implementation of the Sault Ste. Marie proposal in Sault Ste. Marie should be delayed."

"The proposal was developed in Sault Ste. Marie by our very capable professionals to address an acute need in our community."

"Our community should not be made to wait until the resources are found to implement the model regionally."

"I would appreciate a response from you outlining when you believe we can move forward with the addiction medicine consult team in Sault Ste. Marie," the mayor said.

Provenzano says the addiction medicine consult team is needed while a proposed Level III withdrawal management facility is built in the city.

"The team would help integrate addiction medicine into the general health care system by playing a key role in providing services to individuals who present to the emergency room with an overdose or who are admitted to the hospital," the mayor said.

"Additionally, the team will build capacity across the health care system by providing consultation, support and the refinement of care pathways to primary care providers, specialists and hospitals."

The issue is on the agenda for Monday's meeting of Sault Ste. Marie City Council

The meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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