Critical health care delivered to those accessing the emergency shelter system by Simcoe County Paramedics throughout COVID-19 will be able to continue through March due to a windfall from Ontario Health.
According to a funding letter sent to the County of Simcoe and included in Tuesday’s council agenda, there will be a $272,988 funding boost to be distributed to Simcoe County Paramedic Services for their community paramedicine program. The funding will be directed to staffing costs, additional education, equipment, and vehicle expenses retroactive from April 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for your continued contribution to the provision of high-quality services in our community and look forward to maintaining a strong working relationship with you,” noted Jeff Kwan, vice president of performance, accountability and funding allocation with Ontario Health Central in his letter to the County of Simcoe.
As part of the specialized program, paramedics conduct wellness clinics for homeless shelters across the county in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), primary-care providers, and the County of Simcoe’s social and community services.
Paramedics offer clients wellness checks, physical assessments, vital signs (including ECG and blood sugar), patient education, health care system navigation, referrals, and also facilitate consultation with primary care providers.
The clinics began on April 30, 2020 and run four days per week at emergency shelters in Barrie, Orillia, Midland and Collingwood. Shelter organizations include David Busby Centre, Elizabeth Fry Society Simcoe Muskoka, The Lighthouse, Salvation Army, Guesthouse Shelter, and Out of the Cold.