Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Medical society head sees gaps in elder care

Sonja Puzic, Windsor Star

Published: Wednesday, December 03, 2008

As a busy family physician, Dr. Nick Krayacich is all too familiar with the growing challenges facing our health care system.

His patient load of about 2,400 includes many elderly people battling chronic illnesses and adults whose health problems are compounded by job losses and the economic crisis.

Krayacich knows what the community needs -- more health care dollars from the government, better communication among local and provincial agencies and a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to patient care. As the new president of the Essex County Medical Society, he's got several initiatives in mind.

"We are a very well-respected medical society in the province and one of the most active," said Krayacich, who will be formally installed as ECMS president tonight at the society's dinner gathering. "We need to be vocal and advocate for our membership."

One of the first items on Krayacich's agenda is putting together a medical advisory board to work with the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, which is responsible for allocating government funding for area health care facilities. The goal is to foster better communication with the LHIN, Krayacich said, "so that they can pick our brains before decisions are made and vice versa."

Krayacich said he will also focus his efforts on "connectedness and inclusion" within the medical community, making sure its members, especially those who were recruited from other parts of the country, feel welcome and get involved.

Krayacich said he is not worried about juggling his day-to-day schedule and new responsibilities as ECMS president. Having served on the medical society's executive, most recently as vice-president, Krayacich said he knows what to expect. He will replace outgoing president Dr. Anthony Glanz, chief of cardiology at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital.

Krayacich has been practising medicine in the Windsor area since the early 1990s. He treats many geriatric patients who struggle with various chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Caring for the aging and ailing population with stretched resources and a persistent shortage of family physicians is a complicated process across the province, Krayacich said.

"We definitely don't have enough nursing homes ... we don't have enough hospital beds," he said. "There are still 40 to 50 thousand people in the Windsor area who don't have a family doctor. We're definitely concerned about that."

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