Why doctors are moving to Sault Ste. Married

Sault Ste. Marie’s award-winning group health center offers a masterclass in quality health care and work/life balance to its growing medical team

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For family physicians who are passionate about delivering quality medical care and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, managing a successful practice – while managing the myriad administrative tasks that divert their time and energy from patients – can be hard.

Not in Sault Ste. Marie’s award-winning Group Health Center (GHC).

The GHC Difference

“We believe there is a link between physician well-being and better patient outcomes,” says Dr. Jodie Stewart, Family Physician on the GHC Board and CEO of Algoma District Medical Group. “We have a dedicated staff that assists physicians with onboarding, retirement planning, practice transitions, scheduling, paying dues and many other aspects of working life. At GHC, physicians don’t get bogged down in running a business, they focus all of their time on what matters most: the patient.

GHC is home to a world-class and ever-growing medical team, including primary and specialty care physicians, nurse practitioners, allied health professionals and more than 100 nurses. It eschews the quantity-based “fee-for-service” model for physicians, operating instead with a unique quality-focused mix of allowance-based and billing-based payments. And its expansive facilities offer a full range of services, from diagnostic imaging and cardiology testing to physiotherapy, audiology and a new integrated electronic medical records system. The result is end-to-end multidisciplinary care for patients and invaluable administrative support and resources for physicians.

“The GHC provides [us] with an office, exam rooms, nurse, clerical staff and all the equipment needed to run a modern practice with no upfront costs,” says Dr. Jonathan Bishop, who moved his family to Sault Ste. Mary 10 years ago. “The opportunity to join the GHC has been one of the biggest selling points for me. It’s a unique organization that doesn’t fit any of the standard models of care.

Photo provided by Dr. Jonathan Bishop, who moved his family to Sault Ste. Mary 10 years ago.

Improved work-life balance

Dr. Allison Webb, who moved to The Soo in 2015, agrees. “I can enjoy my practice, focus on medicine, and feel well supported by great administrative and nursing staff,” she says. “I provide a number of services as a family physician, and I appreciate not having to run a business at the same time. The GHC’s collaborative environment is also key. “I love the sense of community. I don’t work in silos,” says Dr. Stewart, and Dr. Bishop agrees. “Practicing in the same building as many other family physicians and specialists allows for easily accessible discussions, either over the phone or in person, to provide optimal patient care,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Allison Webb, who moved to The Soo in 2015.

Just as appealing to doctors? What is moving to Sault Ste. Marie and working at GHC has offered them outside of their practices: enviable short commutes, spectacular natural beauty, endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, and a work/life balance coveted by many big-city physicians.

“Even if I don’t get home until six or seven at night, I can still take our kids waterskiing, tubing or fishing straight from the beach in our backyard,” says Dr Bishop. “Being able to come home from work and enjoy a sunset over Lake Superior puts things into perspective as to how lucky we are.

To learn more about practice opportunities in Sault Ste. Marie, contact Christine Pagnucco, Physician Recruitment Manager at PagnuccoC@sah.on.ca.

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