AACS on schedule for May opening

There is still work to be done on the service before opening, according to Susan Samson

Construction on the new AACS is underway, and still has a way to go before the expected May opening date. Samson says the work has been going along at a stead rate, and will be done in time for the expected opening day. Photo Submitted

The opening of the Advanced Ambulatory Care Services (AACS) in Sylvan Lake in on schedule and on budget, though there is still more work to be done.

The budget for the renovations to the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre is just over $2-million.

Susan Samson, chair of the Urgent Care Committee, says it is exciting to finally see the hard work of the committee come together in the new care centre.

“It has been six, probably more like seven, years of work to make this happen. And we are just elated to see the progress,” Samson said in a recent phone interview.

READ MORE: Sylvan Lake gets seven days a week health services

Rehabilitation services moving to make room for AACS

Renovations to the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre are still underway, though Samson is sure they will be completed by the expected May opening.

Renovations to the centre began to pick up steam after the rehab clinic moved into it’s new location in the Cobb’s Block.

“When physic moved, it allowed work to progress at a nice clip,” Samson said.

The AACS area is not the only area of the health centre to see a face lift. The foyer and reception are has also been remodelled.

The area has been “rejigged” for better flow and to allow for more seating for waiting patients.

Before the doors can open equipment has to arrive and be installed. Samson says the equipment needed for the site has been ordered, and the committee is waiting for it to arrive.

“The doctors and staff have to get used to the site and the equipment,” said Samson. “Doctors are undergoing training for AACS operation, to ensure they can handle the different practise.”

One piece of equipment the AACS will have is an electrocardiography (ECG) machine. This is provided by the Town of Eckville, who committed to its purchase. The machine costs roughly $18,000.

New signage has been order and is eagerly awaited upon. Samson said new signage has been ordered not just for the building, but also roadside, which will direct drivers to the facility.

The committee has also reached an agreement with the Town of Sylvan Lake to use the Railroad Promenade parking lot, across from the health centre, as overflow and staff parking.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has also hired a manager for the site, who will oversee operations once it is open.

Other staff positions for the AACS are in the hiring stages, and job listings are posted on the AHS website.

“There is still a lot to do, but we are getting there.”

An official opening date has not yet been set, though Samson says the target is the week after the May-long holiday.

“We are waiting for confirmation for Minister [of Health] Sarah Hoffman on the opening date,” said Samson, adding the Urgent Care Committee sent along a few possible dates to choose from.

The Urgent Care Committee along with AHS and many other subcommittees, including one made up with doctors, meet regularly to ensure the momentum of AACS continues upward.

The meeting go over what is working and what needs to be fixed before the opening date.

“We’ve been meeting since last May to make sure everything goes smoothly, and the things that need fixing are fixed,” Samson said.

The Urgent Care Committee recently decided it will continue on as a group after the AACS opens to the public.

The group will continue to fundraise for the AACS with its annual golf tournament and the Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie campaign.

Samson says the group will continue as a sort of oversight committee. It will operate to ensure the AACS is being used properly and wisely.

“I think we have at least another 12 months of work as a committee,” said Samson.

The work and cooperation between all the affected communities, the AACS and AHS have been tremendous, said Samson.

“It has been really rewarding to see it come together and to work in partnership with so many.”



megan.roth@sylvanlakenews.com

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The foyer and waiting area of the Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre has been redone in preparation for the opening of the AACS. Photo Submitted

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