Greenwood lab services to remain in town, just at new location

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
December 11th, 2012

A rumour that the Interior Health Authority (IHA) would be discontinuing their weekly lab collection service for Greenwood patients had mayor Nipper Kettle scrambling around for answers this past weekend.

Kettle became aware, through a reliable source, that IHA would possibly be stopping the long-standing Greenwood service and only providing the lab collection at Midway. He immediately wrote a letter to chief executive officer Dr. Robert Halpenny and got a response this morning from Ingrid Hampf, Interior Health acute area director.

“There are people who move here, a lot of them are seniors and they don’t have a vehicle or don’t want to travel across to Midway, especially in the winter,” said Kettle, adding the pass between Greenwood and Midway is often icy and dangerous in winter, as is the Eholt summit between Grand Forks and Greenwood.

Right now the lab collection service is available every Monday for one hour at the Medical Center above Dr. H.A. Ajaero’s office just off Government Street in Greenwood.

The spot, located on the second floor of the city-owned building, is not wheel chair accessible, which is why IHA had discussed making the cut, said Kettle.

Instead, Hampf is willing to discuss a new location for the clinic that is wheel chair accessible and compliant with current Workers’ Compensation Board regulations, said Kettle.

Kettle and Greenwood councilor Colleen Lang have come up with two options to the problem. The first is to offer the service within Dr. Ajaero’s office, which is on the ground level and is wheelchair accessible. The second is at the McArthur Center, which is also wheelchair accessible, features a fridge for sample storage and has regular janitorial service, providing a clean and safe location.

Kettle said Hampf will be meeting with them early in the New Year to discuss relocation options.

“(Hampf) was very good about it and we will still continue the service while working out the details,” said Kettle, who is pleased with the outcome and quick response of IHA to the problem.

Patients with routine collection standing orders are the ones who most often use this collection service, according to Karl Hardt, communications officer for IHA. An example of a routine order would be patients who are monitoring diabetes, cholesterol or who are on blood thinners. The samples are collected and then taken to the Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks for processing.

“Doing the testing in Greenwood provides area patients with an option close to home, which is more convenient especially when lab testing can require people to fast for a period of time before having blood drawn,” said Hardt in an email interview with The Boundary Sentinel.

The service has been provided to Greenwood residents for more than 10 years. Between eight and 12 patients use the service every week.

Categories: HealthIssues