Doctor took out $100K loan to work in northern Manitoba city, left before contract ended: court documents
A family doctor recruited to work in a northern Manitoba community for a decade left after just 16 months and is now refusing and/or neglecting to repay a $100,000 interest-free loan, according to documents filed in court. Used to be.
Dr. Andrea Wilson signed a loan agreement with The Pas Community Development Corporation (CDC) on April 1, 2019, after completing her family medicine residency program at the University of Manitoba, according to a lawsuit filed against her by the CDC.
She agreed to work a minimum of 880 clinical hours during each of the ten years of full-time medical services at The Pas between 2020 and 2030. Wilson entered into a contract with the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) on July 1, 2020, the documents say.
Wilson agreed to repay the loan if she terminated the contract, if it was canceled for any reason, or if she was fired for any reason before the end of the agreement.
A social media notice posted by the NRHA on June 29, 2020 welcomed them to the community of 5,639, located about 625 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg.
“Northern Health Region is pleased to announce the arrival of Dr. Andrea Wilson as the new physician at Fisher Avenue Clinic,” it said.
Doctor now works in Vancouver
However, court documents say Wilson left The Pass on November 7, 2021 and moved to Vancouver in violation of the agreement.
He was hired by Mint Integrative Health, which posted a notice on November 23, 2021, announcing his arrival. “She is what you always hoped family therapy could and should be,” the notice read.
Wilson has since left the Mint and is working at another clinic in Vancouver.
On November 22, 2022, Wilson was advised that it had violated the agreement with the NRHA and was being terminated with cause. Paas Community Development Corporation sought to repay the loan by December 31, 2022.
“Defendant has refused and/or neglected to pay the debt and continues to refuse and/or neglect paying the debt,” court documents say.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Wilson earned Bachelor of Science and Psychology degrees from the University of Calgary from 2001-2006. She received a Master of Public Health from the University of British Columbia from 2009-2011 and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Calgary from 2013 to 2016. He worked as an epidemiologist for Health Canada in Edmonton from 2012 to 2014.
Wilson completed his family medicine residency at the University of Manitoba and received his license to practice in December 2019.
Wilson could not be reached for comment. Staff at her current clinic in Vancouver said she has been out for several weeks. Wilson has until early December to file a statement of defense with the court.
The Pas Community Development Corporation and its attorney, Jonathan Paterson, declined to comment because the case is before the courts.
In a statement, the NRHA said it could not comment on any legal matters, but said it is continuing to recruit family physicians.
The NRHA did not answer questions about whether it was capable of replacing Wilson.
Recruitment, retention a ‘big problem’
Meanwhile, a survey The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) found that more than 90 per cent of 137 municipalities are reporting doctor shortages.
AMM president Kam Blight told CBC News that about 95 per cent of them are allocating financial resources to recruit and retain health practitioners in local communities, which shows how “desperate and dire” the situation is in rural Manitoba. Is.
“This is a huge problem throughout our province and across the country,” he said.
“Every single community is trying to find ways to properly staff their emergency services, whether it’s nurses, doctors, paramedics, etc., and it’s just at a critical point.”
Blight, who was not commenting specifically on The Pas’ example, said the responsibility for recruiting health professionals is provincial and federal, but municipalities are doing whatever they can to sell to their communities. .
When it works, he says it creates peace of mind for residents, knowing that quality health care is close to home.
“It could make the difference between saving your life or not.”
When it doesn’t work, it’s “absolutely devastating” to the community and its residents, Blight said.
“Not only are they left out financially for any kind of stimulus, but there’s also the fact that they’ve lost this caregiver.”
But doctors’ groups say that even with incentives, it may be difficult for physicians to settle in rural and remote communities.
They may not have professional peers and may face cultural or religious isolation. They may also have spouses who need jobs, and children who need care.
If the family cannot put down roots, the relationship will not last long.
Matching doctor to community is important
So, while financial incentives are important, finding a good partner with a community is also important, said Dr. Nadine Gilroy, family physician and Manitoba representative for the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.
“If we want to stay in our jobs for the long term, we have to make sure we have balance in our lives,” he said. “And potentially feeling like you’re not part of the community, that can be a challenge for people that doesn’t make them want to live in a certain place. And when it’s looked at with the lens of financial incentive, it “Can easily be missed.”
Communities and governments need to be creative and flexible with things like living arrangements, said Gilroy, who splits her practice between family and emergency medicine at Norway House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba and Winnipeg, where she Works as a palliative care physician.
He believes that doctors and nurses do not have to live in a community full time to do a good job for their patients.
“Allowing individuals to split their practice can create a more solid and long-term team of physicians that is dedicated to the community and will be there for the long term,” he said. He said some communities may feel that physicians should not do this. Break down your practices, but she can think of several examples “where this has worked perfectly.”
And when it doesn’t happen?
“I feel confident in saying that you would be hard-pressed to find a physician who wants to give up on his patients,” Gilroy said.
“A physician who has worked at one location for more than a few months feels a greater responsibility toward the patients in his or her practice, the people he or she cares for, and the community he or she is trying to be a part of.” Will do,” she said.
“So I don’t believe these decisions are ever made lightly.”