You are not alone!
THE PROBLEM: It is estimated that about 10% of the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington region or about 20,000 residents do not have a primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner). However, only about half of those people have registered with the provincial system to help them find a primary care provider. Registering with Health Care Connect is an important step to reflect the true need for providers in our region.
People who do not have the benefit of a primary care provider may:
- have less options for addressing non-urgent issues and resort to using emergency departments
- stay in the hospital longer due to a lack of alternative places to receive care or get advice
- not receive adequate basic care, preventive care, specialist care or chronic disease management, which can lead to serious health problems and cause related strains on the health-care system
Make it Count – Register with Health Care Connect!
THE SOLUTION: Our region needs to have accurate numbers rather than estimates of those who do not have a primary care provider. The best way to count those numbers is by having ALL people without a provider register with Health Care Connect.
Find a family doctor or nurse practitioner
Two ways to register with Health Care Connect:
- Call 811 or 1-800-445-1822 – to speak to a nurse who will ask a short series of questions.
- Register online at Health Care Connect – to enter your information online quickly and easily.
More about Health Care Connect
Registering with Health Care Connect is voluntary. Health Care Connect will assist you with your search for a health care provider, but your registration does not guarantee that a provider will be found. You are urged to keep searching on your own for a provider.
Although some individuals could be on the list for years, registering with HCC will facilitate measuring and addressing the extent of the need for primary care providers.
Be sure to update your information with your Care Connector if you move, find a doctor or if there are changes in your health needs.
You will be referred to a family physician or nurse practitioner in your community once one
is found. You are then responsible for calling to book an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do people register with Health Care Connect?
People can register in two ways: online or by phone at 811, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Criteria for people to register: not already enrolled with a family doctor, be a resident of Ontario with a valid Ontario Health card associated with their current address and phone number (to update contact Service Ontario at 1-866-532-3161).
People who meet these criteria can have help to register from anyone - including friends or family – by providing them with their consent.
People will be asked some basic health information that will determine their health needs.
What happens after someone is registered on Health Care Connect?
The person is added to their local Health Care Connect waitlist for a primary care provider – meaning a family physician or nurse practitioner.
The person receives a letter from the Ministry of Health confirming their registration and providing the contact information for the nurse - called a Care Connector - assigned to help them find a primary care provider in their area.
While on the waitlist, people need to call Health Care Connect (1-800-869-8828 or locally 613-544-8200 x4991) with updates, such as: 1) changes in their health information provided at registration, 2) changes to contact information, 3) if they move, and 4) if they found a primary care provider and can be removed from the waitlist.
As soon as a primary care provider becomes available, Health Care Connect contacts the person about the possible connection to the provider
How long will a person wait for a primary care provider once registered?
Wait times depend on many factors: 1) date of registration, 2) availability of a primary care provider accepting patients in the area, and 3) Ministry of Health Priority Guidelines.
Are people with complex health conditions given priority on the waitlist?
Yes, to ensure the most high-risk people are identified on the waitlist, people are prioritized based on the Ministry of Health Priority Guidelines and on their date of registration.
For high-risk people, primary care providers who have admitting privileges in their practice are considered.
If a person self-identifies as Indigenous what is the process to connect them to the Indigenous Interprofessional Care Team (IIPCT) for their primary care?
The IIPCT notifies local Care Connectors of their capacity to accept new patients who have self-identified as Indigenous.
Wait times for Indigenous people depend on many factors: the date of registration, the capacity of the IIPCT to accept new patients in the area and the Ministry of Health priority guidelines.
If there is an IIPCT physician who can take on a new patient, they do not have to go through Health Care Connect. All family physicians can roster patients independently or use Health Care Connect.
Can a Francophone person request a French-speaking primary care provider?
Care Connectors do their best to connect Francophone people with French-speaking primary care providers, depending on availability.
Francophone people can let their Care Connector know if they agree to be connected with an English-speaking provider or remain on the waitlist until a French-speaking provider is available.
What happens if a person loses their primary care provider?
People are encouraged to contact 811 to confirm if they are de-rostered from their family physician and to register with the Health Care Connect program.
The Care Connector works to connect each person with a new primary care provider and provides interim support as needed, such as walk-in or virtual clinics, pharmacies, etc.
Primary care providers usually arrange for patients to obtain a copy of their records prior to closing their practice – Care Connectors of Health Care Connect are not involved in transferring medical records.
What does de-roster mean and why is it important?
De-roster means to formally be removed from a family physician’s patient list.
To register with Health Care Connect, a person must be de-rostered by their former primary care provider.
There are two ways to de-roster: contact the primary care provider directly or call Service Ontario at 1-888-218-9929 (TTY: 1-800-387-5559). Health Care connect can also provide support with this process, if needed.
What happens when a primary care provider is found for a person on the waitlist?
Health Care Connect contacts the person by telephone to obtain an update about:
- changes in their health information provided at registration,
- changes to contact information,
- if they moved, and
- if they found a primary care provider and can be removed from the waitlist.
If a person is still eligible, they are given the primary care provider’s contact information and asked to either call the primary care provider office or wait to be contacted.
Once the connection between the person and the primary care provider is confirmed by Health Care Connect, the person will be removed from the waitlist.
If a person chooses not to be rostered with that provider and wants Health Care Connect to keep looking, they will have to register with Health Care Connect again
What is the process for physicians who have the capacity to take on new patients?
Physicians can join the Health Care Connect community by calling their local Home Care Coordinator for South East Ontario at 1-800-668-0901.
Local Care Connectors will work with providers closely to understand their practice and to connect patients with them based on their requirements and the Ministry of Health Priority Guidelines.
Primary care providers can also roster patients independently of the Health Care Connect process.