Kneehill County council approved an update on the activities of the regional physician recruitment task force, noting within the plan many activities to attract doctors and other health professionals to the area. The report was approved at the Sept. 26 regular meeting of council.
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Haugen stated the Kneehill Regional Medical Services Retention and Recruitment Task Force is obligated to provide an annual update on its efforts to each of the five-member communities.
Haugen’s report to council noted the municipality contributes just over $10,000 to the task force per year.
The task force update stated over the past year it engaged in a number of activities with the goal of attracting physicians and other health professionals to the Kneehill County region, including funding a physician recruitment luncheon for medical residents in Red Deer.
The report stated this luncheon allows task force and local physician representatives to log face-to-face time with prospective candidates.
The task force also played host to physicians visiting the Kneehill Medical Clinic, taking them out for meals when they visited and providing them with information on the area.
The task force annual report noted retention activities as well, including appreciation and acknowledgment gifts for medical professionals within Kneehill County.
Other programs and activities listed in the task force’s annual report included financial incentives to attract health professionals to the region, helping with accommodation for locum doctors which in turn helps out existing physicians’ workloads and some marketing and promotion for various days of recognition.
During discussion Coun. Faye McGhee stated it’s nice to read reports like this to stay in the loop. She also stated she’d like healthcare professionals working in Kneehill County to know the municipality is working to help them.
Coun. Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham asked what the Dr. Martin Reedyk Legacy Fund was, which was listed in the report as having $3,297.30 connected to it. Coun. Ken King, council’s representative to the task force, responded this was money set aside to pay for projects to recognize the contribution of Dr. Reedyk to the Kneehill County community.
King noted projects such as a bench in the Village of Acme or handicapped swimming equipment in the Town of Three Hills were associated with this legacy project.
Councillors unanimously accepted the report as information.
FCSS draft budget
Councillors unanimously approved the Kneehill Regional Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) draft 2024 budget forwarded to them by the board.
CAO Haugen presented the draft budget, noting Kneehill County provides about $52,000 in funding to FCSS per year, plus about $13,000 for other specific programs.
Haugen stated due to inflation FCSS included a $69,000 increase in the draft budget, about $3,000 to be paid by Kneehill County ratepayers.
Coun. Machell-Cunningham pointed out FCSS also utilizes the former medical clinic, Kneehill County’s property, free of charge.
“So, FCSS also gets that contribution,” said Machell-Cunningham, noting FCSS saves money on rent payments.
The CAO confirmed the statement by adding, “That’s correct.” Haugen added Kneehill County provides that building free of charge to FCSS, plus some IT help.
Coun. King, chair of the FCSS board, noted the organization is in year three of the Community Coach program and it was his hope that the program could be continued.
Apparently, this year was scheduled to be the last.
King described Community Coach as, “…very, very beneficial” to Kneehill and surrounding communities.
Coun. McGhee stated she strongly supported youth programs such as Community Coach because they show results, benefit not just youth but the community and province too and are relatively inexpensive.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter