Over $400k announced to expand ECNPLC to Kingsville

Up to 1200 new clients will be able to get rostered in Kingsville through an expansion of the growing Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (ECNPLC), thanks to provincial funding.

Last Thursday, Essex MPP Anthony Leardi joined Kingsville Mayor Dennis Rogers and ECNPLC Executive Director, Laura Levesque, to announce the ECNPLC was awarded $424,525 to expand its services into Kingsville.

This is part of Ontario’s $110 million investment to connect up to 328,000 people to primary care teams, Leardi explained.

The ECNPLC was founded in Essex Centre over a decade ago, and has previously expanded to operate a clinic in Amherstburg and a satellite office on Drouillard Road.

“That means 1000-1200 people in Essex County will have a dedicated professional to go to when they need medical advice,” Leardi said.

“I can’t express to everyone how excited I am,” Leveque said. “We have all heard about the issues in healthcare right now. We know there are a number of people who still need primary care providers and travelling long distances to see their primary care providers.”

Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics are the solution, Levesque said. “We are here to help bridge this gap. I still say Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics are a little bit of a hidden gem. I still believe there’s a lot of people who don’t really understand what Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics are all about.”

Levesque said Nurse Practitioners have been successful in managing complex patient cases with complex patient needs and complex social needs.

“We care for patients anywhere from the cradle all the way up to the golden years.”

Not only do Nurse Practitioners diagnose, treat, and make referrals, they also focus on preventative care.

The ECNPLC has a team-based model of care approach. “This means, patients have access to our team of staff,” Levesque said, noting that includes nurses, social workers, dieticians.

In addition, some of the clinics have chiropractic care, massage, physiotherapy, and respiratory therapy.

“So, people are able to get the right care from the right individuals,” she said.

The ECNPLC has had a Nurse Practitioner onsite at the TMC Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic in Kingsville. This funding has solidified these relationships further.

Kingsville Mayor Dennis Rogers spoke of the importance of community partnership, which this collaboration demonstrates.

Just over a year ago, he said he sat down with representatives from Tecumseh’s TMC Clinic and the ECNPLC to think of some out-of-the-box solutions of how medical services can be increased in Kingsville.

The solution at the time was to pull from existing resources to have a Nurse Practitioner from the ECNPLC to the TMC Urgent Care Clinic in Kingsville one day a week to increase those services.

“Thats was just the first step of a bigger picture,” Rogers said. The next step involved Kingsville’s Council and Administration delegating to Minister of Health Sylvia Jones on how funding a Nurse Practitioner in Kingsville would not only help its residents, but the region as a whole.

The next step was getting letters of support from municipal partners and the County.

“My dad always said ‘it takes a village.’ We're standing here today because it took a region,” Rogers said, thanking all involved in making this happen. “Again, this is just a step in a much bigger picture.”

Levesque said the ECNPLC will likely continue to use the space at the Kingsville-based TMC Urgent Care Clinic, until it can open up a full primary care clinic.

It is hoped the roster will be opened in the next four to six weeks to take on the additional clients.

“Now we know that the funding is confirmed, we can go ahead and expand,” Levesque said.

Those interested in learning more can log onto ecnplc.ca

The Kingsville location will be added to the website in the near future.

Derrick Amicone, Project Manager with Amico Properties, was onsite with some site plans for what could be a two-storey medical facility that would be added to the east-side of the existing building. He said he is working with the TMC Clinic in Tecumseh on the design.

An application for the facility has been submitted to the Town of Kingsville. It will go to Council for consideration in March. It is hoped building permits will be obtained in the spring.

Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Essex Free Press