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From 2008 to 2016, Lac Ste. Anne County — along with eleven other municipalities — supported the operations of a medical clinic in the Town of Onoway by providing an annual $76,000 cash subsidy to the clinic’s operator. Concerns about the sustainability of a permanent and growing subsidy led these municipal partners to consider alternative funding structures.

A business case was developed that suggested the clinic could be operated for profit without a municipal subsidy, and in January 2017, six municipal partners (the Town of Onoway; Lac Ste. Anne County; and the Summer Villages of Ross Haven, West Cove, Silver Sands and Val Quentin) assumed operations of the Onoway Regional Medical Clinic.

The initial commitment was for a two-year trial to prove a business case for a medical clinic in Onoway operated without subsidy. The results of this trial were nothing short of remarkable. At the end of the two-year mark, the clinic was operating with a small profit, which was reinvested into the facility.

The clinic exceeded revenue projections by 11% in 2017, and 15% in 2018. Without the collaborative efforts of the County and its municipal partners, the clinic’s operation would have undoubtedly ground to a halt.

The Onoway Regional medical exceeded revenue projections by 11% in 2017, and 15% in 2018.

In 2017, Lac Ste. Anne County joined forces with Onoway, Ross Haven, West Cove, Val Quentin and Silver Sands to breathe new life into the Onoway Regional Medical Clinic. Structural repairs, physician recruitment and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic posed initial challenges, but did not deter the overarching mandate to sustainably grow the clinic. 

In 2020, the clinic again faced chicken-and-egg challenges that threatened its long-term viability. It needed a bigger space to attract more doctors; retain existing staff; and meet the growing needs of communities in the region.

To retain doctors, expand the facility and safeguard the clinic, the most affordable option was for the County to purchase the building. Factors such as a fully-booked roster and secure income from the clinic’s physicians helped underwrite this decision. 

The expanded and upgraded clinic now has adequate space for clients; offices for physicians; and a new staff room. 

In 2020, the County purchased the strip mall that housed the clinic, a pharmacy and a vacant unit. It then undertook an expansion project that doubled the facility’s floor space to 2,500 square feet. A major expansion of the clinic was started and completed by January of 2021.

Is clinic exterior 02

A Success Story in Accessible, Family-focused Medical Care

2020 was a year of exciting milestones for the clinic. Its scope of services was enhanced; new staff members were onboarded; and its premises were expanded and renovated. The County’s acquisition and renovation of the medical plaza building has resulted in a long-term, sustainable solution for an expanded clinic and a stable platform for its physicians and staff. 

With a fully-booked clinic staffed by fee-for-service doctors, this is a case study of the County and its municipal partners working together to meet a clear and growing demand for health care in the east end of the County.

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