Have you called PAM?
That’s the acronym for the dedicated phone line connecting upper Fraser Valley residents in need with a doctor or primary care provider.
And it’s working.
Hundreds of people actively sought out a care provider in the past year by contacting Patient Attachment Mechanism (PAM), from Chilliwack Division of Family Practice, according to a report to city council.
A total of 1273 people in Chilliwack, Agassiz or Hope, who’d been seeking a regular doctor, were successfully connected, or “attached” to a physician or nurse practitioner, as of September 2015.
That included 720 people in Chilliwack alone, according to the report.
They had to work on “managing community expectations,” at the outset, said Katrina Bepple, PAM program lead, in a report to city council.
It was unlikely they could ensure someone could make a call and get a doctor appointment for the next day.
“There is a process,” she explained, that patients had to undergo before they were connected with a primary care provider, either a physician, nurse practitioner or primary care clinic.
Those with more urgent needs were triaged, and they worked to find the right professional for each patient. They looked at factors like those with disabilities or transportation barriers.
What they heard from a recent survey was that it was “extremely frustrating” for those who were calling around blindly to various medical offices, trying to find a doctor accepting new patients.
What they came up with was a dedicated phone line established at 604-795-0034, that allowed people to call PAM, launched in September 2014.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz praised the initiative when the report was given to council.
“Seeing the figures you put up today, it’s exciting,” she said. “It’s so good to see people are being looked after and directed to the doctor that will best fit their needs.”
Patients from Chilliwack to Boston Bar, can ‘call PAM’, 604-795-0034 (for residents of Chilliwack, Agassiz, and Harrison) or toll-free at 1-844-795-0034 (for residents of Hope and the Fraser Canyon).