Military family doctor network launches nationally

Military Doctors Network

Brigadier-General Nicolas Eldaoud and Colonel Dan Harris present the Military Family Coin to Scott Murray during the launch of the Calian Military Family Doctor Network at Toronto’s Military Family Resource Centre Jan. 20.

Rachel Lallouz, Staff Writer ~

Calian Health, a national healthcare services company and Canadian military healthcare provider for over 10 years under the HSSC contract, announced the launch of its Military Family Doctor Network Jan. 20.

The company collaborated with Military Family Services to develop the program, which aims to improve access to family physicians for families of serving Canadian Armed Forces members.

“A healthy family means a healthy serving member, which means a healthy and strong Canadian Armed Forces,” says Scott Murray, Vice President of Health Services at Calian.

While military members are provided health services in the military healthcare system, military family members must rely on provincial healthcare systems. As a result, military family members have difficulty finding family physicians following postings.

“An estimated four million Canadians still do not have a family doctor, so it’s not an entirely unique problem for the military, but it is compounded by the fact that military families move around so much,” says Murray.

Murray says Calian considered how they could improve this situation for military family members.

“We have a network of 145 clinics that we manage on behalf of Loblaw at store locations across Canada, including No Frills and Real Canadian Superstores. As a result, we have pre-existing relationships with the roughly 400 family physicians practicing at these clinics; so we asked our network of physicians to consider opening spots at their practice to military families.”

To make use of the program, military family members need only visit their local Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC), where they fill out a form requesting information about their healthcare needs. Calian then reaches into its network of participating physicians and attempts to match the family members to local doctors.

Calian is not about to resolve the fundamental shortage of family physicians in Canada, says Murray, but is leveraging the relationships they have. They are also absorbing the administrative expenses of the program to help ensure military families have better access to family physicians despite the obstacle of frequent uprooting.

The company first piloted the program in July 2015 in CFB Winnipeg, where Murray says they had great success matching military family members to family physicians at the seven participating clinics in the city. From there, the pilot program expanded to Toronto and Halifax.

“As of Jan. 20, the Military Family Doctor Network has gone national, and we’re now looking at bringing the program to British Columbia, New Brunswick, and other parts of Canada as quickly as we can,” says Murray.

He says CFB Esquimalt is currently on the company’s shortlist, and is in active discussion for consideration.

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