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GoFundMe campaign launched for Ramara physician recruitment

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In Council Watch
Apr 14th, 2019
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Letter to AWARE Simcoe from Mike Douglas & Anna Bourgeois for the Concerned Citizens of Ramara

The decision on the part of Ramara Township council on Monday, March 11th, 2019 not to reinstate the $8,000 per year funding to the shared Physician Recruitment and Retention program is disturbingly short-sighted. This decision on the part of Ramara Township council does not represent a well thought-out approach to local health care.

Each of the Ramara Township council members must recognize that they are responsible for the overall health and wellbeing of Ramara Township residents, which includes working to achieve equal access to local health care. The $8,000 per year is a figure that was originally arrived at based on past Ramara Township’s share of funding, which was directed at supporting physician recruitment for the entire area, with Orillia as the hub. Implying that the $8,000 per year was specifically intended to only support attracting a doctor to the medical centre in Brechin is a misrepresentation of the facts.

The $8,000 per year contribution from Ramara Township in this joint community venture is equivalent to approximately a dollar per Ramara Township taxpayer. The previous expenditures of $8,000 per year were very well spent when properly taking into consideration that this funding has been a significant factor in providing 1,800 residents of the area with access to medical practitioners over the last 7 years. Pat Thor, the Community Physician Recruitment Liaison has confirmed this number.

Today’s physicians tend to work as medical groups for several reasons, thus the very few graduating physicians each year that are willing to come to Orillia and area are more inclined to want to share a building and common resources. These physicians, however, are for the most part located in Orillia. With the combined financial support from Oro-Medonte, Severn, Orillia, Rama and whatever Ramara can come up with we stand a better chance of locating and attracting quality healthcare into our area, with Orillia as the hub.

We have all heard the phrase “pull your own weight”, which is from our farming history where beasts of burden (horses, oxen) were yoked together and the entire team was responsible for doing its share. Obviously, it was possible to hang back and let others do the lion’s share of the work. Health care is a must for all communities and Ramara Township needs to pull our own weight where the burden of Physician Recruitment and Retention is concerned, just as the other communities in the area including Oro-Medonte, Severn, Orillia and Rama have committed to doing.

As the Community Physician Recruitment Liaison, Pat Thor has mentioned, “Any time we recruit a new doctor to our area the residents of Ramara benefit from that”. If the current council’s primary purpose is to focus on eliminating the waste of rate payer’s money and they believe accessibility to health care is an area that needs to be eliminated, then a re-evaluation of Ramara Township’s fiscal priorities and responsibilities is needed. Health care isn’t an area of civic responsibility that can be adequately or properly managed unless it is recognized as a long term and ongoing commitment.

Of course, Ramara Township taxpayers don’t want Ramara Township council to waste our money, however, the Ramara Township council members are given the responsibility to represent the best interests of the residents of Ramara Township. Supporting ongoing financial support of the Orillia and area Physician Recruitment and Retention program and pulling our own weight as a municipality who continues to benefit from the program can not in any way be argued as fiscally irresponsible when it is only costing us a dollar per registered taxpayer in Ramara Township.

Standing up during the next municipal election at all candidate’s meetings on a platform of having improved Ramara Township’s finances at the expense of programs like the Physician Recruitment and Retention program won’t impress taxpayers. Opting out of support for programs like doctor recruitment and other community-based programs simply diminishes the health care opportunities for all citizens who would jointly benefit and undermines the viability of our communities. Not participating in collaborative health care initiatives clearly compromises the pursuit of well-planned development for any community, including Ramara Township. Doing nothing to address the shortage of rural physicians is pretty much guaranteed to produce exactly nothing.

The Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention (NRRR) Initiative offers taxable financial incentives to each eligible physician who establishes a full-time practice in an eligible community of the province. Please see the following link to the Health Force Ontario Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention Initiative. Guidelines.

The Concerned Citizens of Ramara will be looking into some possible methods of raising at least some of Ramara Township’s $8,000 commitment to the Physician Recruitment & Retention program. Yes, there will be people who will laugh up their sleeves at the idea that we would take the time and effort to raise money to support physician recruitment and retention in our area while replicating a function of our municipality and council. This would, however, be a counterproductive attitude that doesn’t address the very real need to pull our own weight as a municipality in the case of our shared responsibility to fund Physician Recruitment and Retention on an ongoing basis.

At the end of the day, all that really should matter is shared participation in the Physician Recruitment and Retention program for the benefit of everyone in the area. A Gofundme page has been created to raise as much as we can toward Ramara’s $8,000 commitment to the Physician Recruitment & Retention program. GoFundme is a crowdfunding platform designed to be used through social media like facebook, messenger, twitter, etc. We are asking for many small donations and we are trying to reach as many people as possible. The GoFundMe platform is reasonably cost-effective, with no annual fee. The standard transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation allows for credit card processing and safe transfer of funds. On a $10 donation that amounts to ¢59 for every $10.00 raised.

The contributions to the Ramara Physician Recruitment & Retention program will be directly transferred to the Orillia & area Physician Recruitment & Retention program through Pat Thor, the Community Physician Recruitment Liaison. This is the link to the GoFundMe fundraising campaign for Ramara Physician Recruitment & Retention:

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