SFM is a group of Family Practice and Specialist physicians who choose to practice together so that costs can be shared and resources can be used most efficiently. A group arrangement is also more practical in terms of the various coverages required in a rural setting for work such as obstetrics and hospital care, and it also allows for easier consultation and sharing of information pertaining to the care of a patient.
The Clinic is operated by the physician group. It is considered a private fee-for-service (FFS) clinic. Its operations are not managed, funded, or overseen by the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) or Manitoba Health. The physicians are responsible to cover their own operating costs similar to most businesses. Some of the SFM physicians also provide services at facilities which are operated by SRHA, such as Bethesda Hospital and personal care homes.
SFM physicians are fee-for-service (FFS) physicians. This is the predominant arrangement for Family Practice physicians in Manitoba. Other physician clinics in Steinbach, Ste. Anne, and Niverville operate under this type of arrangement. FFS physicians are paid for the work they do based on established rates (tariffs) for the various procedures and interventions that are performed. These tariff rates are part of negotiated agreements between Manitoba Health and Doctors Manitoba, which represents physicians in the province. There are also FFS agreements with Worker Compensation and Manitoba Public Insurance.
There are some services which Manitoba Health does not cover and these "uninsured" services require payment from the patient or a third party, such as an insurance company. Some of these services include insurance forms, sick notes, aviation/driver medicals, forms or examinations required by an employer, immunizations and exams required for travel, some medications and supplies, and provision of personal medical information. A patient will also be required to pay for their doctor visit if they do not have valid Manitoba Health coverage.
You should contact Manitoba Health to see if they are eligible to be covered. You can visit their website at www.gov.mb.ca/health or call them at (204) 786-7101, or toll free at (800) 392-1207. Registration information is also available at your local City Hall or Municipal office. The contact number for Steinbach City Hall is (204) 326-9877.
SFM will usually put a notice on its website and/or in the local media when it has a physician accepting patients. You can contact the Family Doctor Finder Line at (204) 786-7111 or toll free at (866) 690-8260, to find out whether there are physicians accepting patients in your area.
Many rural based physicians do more than just clinical work and therefore they are not always at the Clinic. They provide care in hospitals seeing in-patients, performing obstetrical care including deliveries, assisting the surgeons during surgery, providing anesthesia services and hospital ER coverage; they provide community care in personal care homes, Cancer Care centres, and in the provision of palliative care services; they participate on regional or provincial committees; they teach medical students and residents. Physicians are also required to complete ongoing education and this sometimes takes them away from the Clinic. Some of the services performed take place in the evening or night, or are unpredictable and because of this their daytime schedules sometimes require “last minute” adjustments.
SFM offers a Same Day Care Clinic (SDCC) for health concerns requiring urgent attention. See details of the SDCC on this website. SFM physicians will have another SFM physician cover various aspects of their practice (such as patient lab results) if they are away for an extended period of time.
Physicians do this in order to keep waiting times at acceptable levels for the patients already in their practice. Physician practice sizes will vary depending how often the physician is in-clinic.
SFM can provide some information and immunizations regarding travel outside of Canada. You can contact one of the following organizations for more comprehensive information:
You would typically be required to pay for health assessments and immunizations related to personal travel.
SFM will get periodic updates from the Manitoba Health database pertaining to immunizations. You can also contact the Southern Regional Health Authority Public Health Unit, located at 365 Reimer in Steinbach, (204) 346-6123.
SFM is one of six Rural Family Medicine teaching programs in Manitoba. A number of SFM physicians are certified to teach medical students and family medicine residents. At any given time SFM may have two medical students in their third or fourth year of training, and four family medicine residents in their first or second (and final) year of training.
Direct patient interaction and dealing with “real life” health circumstances is essential in the development of students’ and residents’ practice skills. It is the same way current SFM physicians learned. The student/resident may see you with your physician present and sometimes initially on their own, followed by discussion with your physician. You simply need to advise your physician or your physician’s staff if you do not feel comfortable being seen by a student or resident.
It is worth noting that a teaching program is a means to recruiting future physicians to the Clinic. Many of the current SFM physicians completed some of their training requirements at SFM.
Click on the following link connecting you to the Office of Rural & Northern Health.
There are numerous financial assistance programs offered by the province and Southern Regional Health Authority to assist medical students and residents during their training period.