Municipal Office: Phone (403) 887-2141 Fax (403) 887-3660 Email

October 11, 2016
Task force focused on enhancement of health care services in Sylvan Lake

A joint task force with members from Sylvan Lake and surrounding communities and Alberta Health Services (AHS) spent the past three months exploring a solution for enhanced health care services for Sylvan Lake and area.

The joint task force included local physicians, members of the Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee, representatives from the Town of Sylvan Lake, a member of the David Thompson Health Advisory Council and AHS staff.

On September 30, the task force submitted a proposal for consideration around how to deliver enhanced health care services, along with supporting lab and diagnostic services. This will now be reviewed by AHS, in consultation with Alberta Health. A response to the proposal is expected by the end of the year.

The task force had been meeting on a weekly basis since mid-July to ensure the deadline of September 30 was met. It was a significant undertaking and we truly appreciate the time and effort it took. The work of the entire joint task force as well as the time given by local physicians and the Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee is truly appreciated.

We remain committed to working with the community to implement a health care solution that works for Sylvan Lake and will continue to keep the community updated as we move forward.

August 11, 2016:

Task force focused on enhancement of health care services in Sylvan Lake

Work continues towards the development of a sustainable go-forward plan for after-hours urgent health care in Sylvan Lake.

A joint task force—comprised of staff and physicians from AHS and the community’s Primary Care Network, members of the town’s Urgent Care Committee, and representatives of the Town of Sylvan Lake—is leading this work. By September 30, the task force will present its recommended solution to provide urgent after-hours care to the Minister of Health.

The task force has been meeting on a weekly basis since mid-July to ensure the September deadline is met, and a number of potential solutions for enhanced care in the community are being explored.

On August 3, the task force met with the Sylvan Lake Urgent Care Committee, members of Sylvan Lake town council and local physicians to further discuss the work completed to date, including establishment of the following principles to guide the task force in its work:

• Ensure that a patient-and family-centered care approach is implemented and is continuous throughout the health care journey
• Seek to propose the most appropriate care in the right location
• Engage community stakeholders including local physicians, community leaders and AHS Central Zone leadership
• Timely implementation of a solution is important to the community – how quickly a proposed model can be implemented in the community will be a consideration in decision making
• Contribute to improving the health of the population of Albertans by working with partners to address immediate episodic and after-hours health care required by local residents and area visitors
• Integrate sustainable health services across the continuum of care by including the availability of lab and diagnostic imaging services and nursing personnel as key components of the proposed service model
• Include an evaluation plan of the service, once implemented, to collect data and metrics, measure the effectiveness of the solution, and adapt as necessary

Next Steps

• The task force will meet again with these groups in early September
• We will continue to provide updates to the community as this work progresses

We are committed to the development of a health care solution that works for Sylvan Lake. Together, we will make this happen.

Letter Writing Campaign

Please circulate these addresses to your friends, family and co-workers. Ask them to write one letter and send it to all 6 people on the list. Let these people know what it means to you to not have enhanced medical services in your community. CONTACT INFORMATION HERE

An Open Letter to Residents of Sylvan Lake & Area
Regarding Changes to Current On Call Service

April 18, 2016

The physicians of the Sylvan Lake Family Health Centre, and Sylvan Medical Clinic regret to inform the citizens of Sylvan Lake and area about changes to the physician On Call Service effective June 1, 2016.

For decades, local doctors have offered 24/7/365 after-hours care to our community, at our closed clinics, with no support. Over time our population has rapidly grown at a rate of almost 5% a year, and this does not factor in population fluxes in the summer due to the tourism industry. We have worked earnestly with the Urgent Care Committee in Sylvan Lake for five years, trying to find a stable solution to this challenge. In addition, our physician group was active in conversations about this issue for five additional years prior to the establishment of the committee. We have had many conversations with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health in that time, seeking out any opportunity to solve this dilemma, and we have worked through several major evaluations, assessments, and proposals.

We regret to report that, in over a decade, none of this has led to an after-hours solution for Sylvan Lake and area. We know of no community in Alberta that has been asked to look after a population of 20,000, which approximately doubles in the summer, with absolutely no support from Alberta Health Services for Lab, Diagnostic Imaging, Nursing, or Support staff outside of limited business hours. The current On Call Service is unsustainable. Although physician safety and burnout is an issue of concern, patient safety is by far and away the most significant and serious concern.

Given the ever increasing, complicating factors, the On Call Service, as the town has known it, will cease to exist June 1, 2016.

The physicians in Sylvan Lake will continue to provide phone coverage for our personal patients after hours, which is a duty of our profession; however, we will no longer return to see patients at closed clinics, and we are no longer able to look after patients in any capacity who are not directly attached to a physician at Sylvan Family Health Centre, Sylvan Medical Clinic, or the office of Dr. Stephen Fugler.

We know from our data that changes to our On Call Service will mean an additional 2,000-3,000 visits to emergency departments in the next year; this is in addition to the already 3,000 community members forced elsewhere as a result of lack of health care service and access locally.

We believe that Sylvan Lake has a progressive group of professional providers with amazing staff at our clinics, and fantastic professional staff provided by the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network. The situation is right for the development of an innovative solution to our community concerns, but we need our service delivery partners (AHS) and provincial funders (Alberta Health) to prioritize this issue for any action to occur. We will continue to work with the Urgent Care Committee, and our Zonal Leadership to identify a long-term and sustainable solution to a problem that most certainly will continue to grow, and we deeply apologize for the inconvenience that these changes will no doubt cause.

The physicians of:
Sylvan Family Health Centre
Sylvan Medical Clinic



Media Release
Access to Improved Health Services in Sylvan Lake, again Overlooked.

April 18, 2016- The group associated with lobbying the province for improved access to health care services for Sylvan Lake and area is expressing frustration after learning that Sylvan Lake and area health care access is not expressly referenced in the Government’s projected budget plans (2016- 2021).

A meeting on April 11, 2016 with the Urgent Care Executive committee and Kerry Bales, vice president of AHS, Central Zone, suggested that the medical needs for Sylvan Lake and Area are not part of their current budget allocations, and no timeline was available for solutions.

With the release of the NDP provincial budget on April 14, 2016, the province has again allocated the lion’s share of money to Alberta Health Services, but no mention of any monies being directed to increased health care services for Sylvan Lake and Area.

“I am disappointed, frustrated, in the level of support. We’ve worked tirelessly for five years on both creative funding, and servicing proposals; if AHS and the Government could even meet us even a part of the way, we’d find ourselves in a much better- more comforting position.”
– Susan Samson, Chair- Sylvan Lake and Area (Urgent Care) Committee

“I’ve had a number of residents express frustration, fear, even anger with the lack of health care service in Sylvan Lake and area. Sylvan Lake the second largest population in Central Alberta, and we are disproportionately underserved, with respects to health care. We have the statistics, the business plan, and the people to support our cause, and we will not rest until the health care needs of our area population are met."
– Mayor Sean McIntyre, the Town of Sylvan Lake

A high level review of recent statistics, will quickly paints a dismal picture, one in which Sylvan Lake is easily the largest underserved community in Central Alberta. Local clinic & PCN data also suggests that were Sylvan Lake to lose its current “on-call service”, an additional ~2,000 patients could end up visiting Central Zone Emergency Rooms.

In the past, Sylvan Lake & area had been promised a Family Care Clinic, which was then later amended to an Urgent Care Centre. The Committee is considering planning a public rally.

Susan Samson, Chair
Urgent Care Committee
403 887 3387 (p)
403990 9030 (c)

Joanne Gaudet, Communication
Town of Sylvan Lake/Urgent Care Committee
403 887 1185 ext. 240




The journey in Sylvan Lake and area for Urgent Care or Enhanced Health Care Services continues, with 2015 being a very busy year for the committee. In early 2015 we were waiting for a response to the Family Care Clinic proposal, and as a result had a visit on Family Day from the PC Minister of Health. However once the election was called and the new government formed we were faced with beginning again to educate our new health representatives on the needs in our area.

The various fund raising efforts have continued with the highlight being the new UCC- Golf tournament. To date the UCC donations exceed $115,000.00 that will be spent on medical equipment once the new health centre is realized.

Sylvan Lake and area is a growing and thriving community with an overall service area population of 22,316, and a tourist industry that results in an estimated 775,000 visitors a year. Sylvan Lake currently has no hospital, Urgent Care or Ambulatory Care Centre. There is a basic AHS Community Health Centre providing limited access to Lab and DI, mental health services, public health and home care.

The Sylvan Lake Area is inclusive of the following health agencies and municipalities; Wolf Creek PCN, AHS Central Zone, Town of Sylvan Lake, Town of Eckville, Town of Bentley, Village of Benalto, Lacombe County, Red Deer County, and the 5 Summer Villages at Sylvan Lake. (Birchcliff, Half Moon Bay, Jarvis Bay, Norglenwold, Sunbreaker Cove)

The Urgent Care Committee, formed in 2011, consists of 17 members who are local Mayors, councillors, RCMP, doctors, pharmacists, medical professionals, local service club members and community members.

Currently the majority of health care delivery is provided by 3 respective private medical clinics staffed by 15 dedicated family physicians. Health services are provided from the clinics with regularly scheduled visits, expanded evening hours and a creative after hours on-call system. The current on-call system was manageable 10 years ago, but with the increased demand it is at risk of collapsing.

Other emergency, urgent and non-urgent visits, which cannot be handled locally, are seen by the Emergency Departments in area hospitals such as Red Deer, Lacombe, Rimbey and Innisfail.

Our proposed solution to this gap in medical services for the area is to provide, under one roof in Sylvan Lake, an Ambulatory Care Clinic for the medical treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The vision is this clinic would be open 7 days a week from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm and have access to laboratory (Lab) and diagnostic imaging (DI). It would be staffed by doctors and nurses. It would provide additional supports for Mental Health and seniors.

This proposed clinic would be a partnership between all health services in the area. It would provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time by the right people.

We envision that in this clinic we can:
-reduce trips to the emergency departments
-reduce patient admission to hospitals
-reduce inpatient stays at hospitals
-increase patient and family satisfaction
-improve medical access in the Sylvan Lake Area

We also believe that once a detailed plan is developed and accepted this clinic can:
-reduce Emergency Department visits at a substantial cost savings
-reduce total inpatient bed days at RDRHC from the Sylvan Lake and Area residents
-retain and recruit committed and collaborative Doctors
-provide integrated care utilizing doctors, PCN and community and social agencies
-improved access for mental health patients
-improved access for ambulatory care visits
-provide a continuum of health care services in a sustainable, affordable model
-lower per capita costs for services delivered
-province wide learning on this accountable model with trackable outcomes.

We met with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman on Dec 14, 2015 and presented the problems and the possible solutions. We have asked for support including in forming an integrated partnership between health services agencies in the area. To provide planning funds to further develop this unique health service delivery model. To provide a commitment to ongoing operational funding once the plan is reviewed and accepted. The Minister was not able to make us immediate promises due to low oil prices and many demands on the health care budget. However we are optimistic that our cost effective and quality of service approach will be an innovative solution and we anticipate a response from the Health Minister in early 2016.

We will continue to keep you informed of our progress and to fundraise. We look forward to seeing our supporters at our 2nd Annual Golf tournament on August 12, 2106.

For further information or to get involved, contact:

Susan Samson
Urgent Care Committee
Sylvan Lake and Area



Thank You


We are excited to announce our first annual Golf for Urgent Care on Friday August 14, 2015 at the Meadowlands Golf Club. Your participation will help change the future of health care for Sylvan Lake and the surrounding communities.

Friday August 14, 2015
Meadowlands Golf Club, Corner of Hwy 11 & 50th St, Sylvan Lake, AB

: 11:00am | Tee-Off: 12:00pm | Dinner: 6:00pm

For more details CLICK HERE


May 13, 2015

With the change in the Provincial government, we have to re-adjust our expectations of the timing to receiving a new Urgent Care Centre. While all indicators were promising after the PC government’s April announcement that Beaverlodge, Sylvan Lake and Airdrie would all be receiving new Urgent Care Centres, the reality is that the announcement was tied to a pre-election budget that never received second reading. Therefore the promise and the funding is no longer there.

The work completed by the Urgent Care Committee and its support partners over the past four years is still sound and logical and it reinforces the immediate need for enhanced medical services for our community, our rural partners and our visitors.

Mayor Sean MacIntyre will be meeting this month with our newly elected Wildrose MLA, Don Macintyre. The Mayor’s discussions will focus on updating the MLA on the priority, urgency and details of our Urgent Care proposal for Sylvan Lake and Area. Next steps will include a meeting with the newly appointed Health Minister to accomplish the same update on our situation.

It is reasonable to expect that our priorities are not well known to the newly elected and Mayor Sean MacIntyre and the Urgent Care Committee will do everything possible to engage and advocate to the provincial government the importance of an Urgent Care Centre for Sylvan Lake and Area. As we know, a solution to long wait times in emergency rooms is strategically moving certain elements of health care (Urgent Care) to the community. This will be our opportunity to have this conversation with the government and continue to build on our good working relationship

We will keep you informed of our progress and ask that you advocate the need for an Urgent Care Centre for Sylvan Lake and Area at every opportunity.


Susan Samson
Urgent Care Centre
Sylvan Lake and Area

Sylvan Lake & Area
Urgent Care Update

Thank you for supporting the Sylvan Lake & Area Family Care Clinic. The Sylvan Lake Area has had an Urgent Care Committee (UCC) pursuing enhanced health care services for Sylvan Lake & Area for the past 3 years. Alberta Health has identified the Sylvan Lake Area as a potential site for a provincially- funded Family Care Clinic, along with 9 other communities, and has set aside $45 million to fund start-up costs and the first year of operation for the successful community candidates.

What’s Been Happening?
December 1, 2014 -Thank you for supporting Sylvan Lake Area Family Care Centre

The “goal of enhanced and easily accessible health services” in Sylvan Lake has made significant progress over the past six months.
The Sylvan Lake area has had an Urgent Care Committee (UCC) pursuing improved health care services for Sylvan Lake and area for the past 3 years. The area is inclusive f Benalto, Eckville, Bentley, Summer Villages of Birchcliff, Half Moon Bay, Jarvis Bay, Norglenwold, and Sun Breaker Cove, as well as the portions of Red Deer County and Lacombe County that surround Sylvan Lake.
Alberta Health has identified the Sylvan Lake area as a potential site for a provincially funded Family Care Centre (FCC), along with 9 other communities and has set aside $45 million to fund start-up costs and the first year of operation for the successful community candidates. On April 2014, Alberta Health approved our planning work and concept to date and provided support to move to the next phase to secure a Family Care Clinic; this was to develop a full Business Plan.

A project management/health care consultant was engaged in May to begin the extensive work on the required Business Plan. Over the summer, several meetings were held with community stake holders and health providers to complete a “Needs Assessment or service Gap Analysis” to determine the high priority health service needs in the overall area. The final meeting was a Town Hall meeting on September 10, 2014 in the Sylvan Lake Community Centre.
The Business Plan for the Family Care Clinic for Sylvan Lake area includes the same core medical services that we have long lobbied for including:
  • medical assistance for non-life threating injuriess
  • extended hours from 7:00am – 10:00pm, seven days a week in one consistent location
  • access to Lab and X-Ray
  • observation Beds
  • staffed by Doctors, nurses and other appropriate health professionals


Thank you to Scarlett Built Homes for donating this beautiful tree, which sold for $150 at the Sylvan Lake Yuletide Festival.
After our many meetings, we realized that we need more than the core medical services and the following programs have been added to the Business Plan:
  • stronger ties with all area health service providers, such as the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network (PCN), Alberta Health Services (AHS), local physicians and other agency’s such as FCSS with a dedicated approach to partnering with strong collaboration, coordination and communication.
  • establishment of a Mental Health Crisis Team
  • establishment of a program to provide promotion and prevention of Children’s Lifestyle Management including exercise specialist, social workers, behavior therapists and psychologists to name a few services
  • establishment of a program to provide enhanced Senior’s Lifestyle including exercise specialists, social workers and pharmacists
We believe that this broader approach to patient care, with a stronger focus on prevention and health management by individuals with intervention and guidance from the right health professionals, will be a strong addition to the extended hours clinic and could exceed our original Urgent Care Centre vision which will pave the way for enhanced health care.

The Draft Business Plan was submitted in mid-September and after initial feedback, the Final Business Plan was submitted to Alberta Health. More revisions may be required. When the plan has received formal approval by Alberta Health in the form of ongoing operational funding, the next steps will include working on an actual physical space the clinic will occupy, full operational planning including equipment acquisitions and staff recruitment. Timing of the approval process is difficult to predict.

At this time we need your support for this shift in focus from and Urgent Care Centre to an expanded vision for Family Care.
To date, through the efforts of previous Yuletide Festivals, the Tim Horton Cookie campaign and other generous donations from the community there is an accumulated $45,500.00 for medical equipment to support the delivery of care at our future community care clinic.

Thank You
Susan Samson

September 2014 – We expect to submit our business plan to Alberta Health by the end of September 2014.
July/August 2014 - Facilitated meetings with health and social service organizations to determine the specific areas in which enhanced services are required. These meetings expanded the focus from core minor emergencies, to coordination of broader health, wellness & lifestyle services.
June 2014 - Hired a Project Management Consultant with a background in health business, to lead the development of the business plan.
April 2014 - Received approval to move forward in plans for a Family Care Center What’s Next?
Approval of the submitted business plan, followed by detailed program planning.

Want to Get Involved?
At this time we need your support for this shift in focus from an Urgent Care Centre, to an expanded vision of Family Care. If you are interested in joining the Community Advisory Committee please contact our Community Advisory Committee Chair, Susan Samson at

What is a Family Care Clinic?
A Family Care Clinic for Sylvan Lake Area would provide the same core medical health & wellness services that the Urgent Care Committee has long lobbied for, including:

-medical assistance for non-life threating injuries
-extended hours from 7:00am – 10:00pm, seven days a week
-access to Lab and X-Ray
-treatment beds
-a facility staffed by doctors, nurses, and other key health professionals
After meeting with members of the community, we quickly realized that we need more than the core medical services identified above, and added services and needs have been identifyied as part of our plan:
-stronger ties/coordination between area health service providers
-an established Mental Health Crisis Team
-a close relationship with Children’s Lifestyle Management including, as an example, exercise specialists, social workers, behavior therapists, and Psychologists.
-additional services for Seniors’ Lifestyle Enhancement, including, for example, exercise specialists, social workers, and Pharmacists.

We believe that this new global approach to patient care, integrated health, and wellness services is a more attractive and effective approach than the original Urgent Care Centre request. This new approach will pave the way for enhanced health care. The goal is to partner with existing service providers, and to provide a better, more seamless delivery of health and wellness to Sylvan Lake Area residents.

If you are interested in joining the Community Advisory Committee please contact our Community Advisory Committee Chair, Susan Samson at



Urgent Care Update for June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 - The Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival presented $12,000 towards the journey of enhanced health care options for the Sylvan Lake area. Members of both the Festival Committee and the Urgent Care Committee were on hand as the donation, collected throughout this year’s second Yuletide Festival, was presented.

The Committee now has slightly over $45,000 to date- from major donations from groups like the Yuletide Festival, and Tim Hortons, as well as donations from individual donors from around the community and region. The money is to be held in trust and will be spent to augment the medical equipment required to provide extra or enhanced services once the new facility is in place.

The committee has changed the name from Urgent Care, to Ambulatory Care Centre - Sylvan Lake Area (ACC-SLA) in recognition of the classification of medical facilities as per Alberta Health.

The only developmental and operational funds for our request is through the government's Family Care Clinic initiative. Rather than call our medical facility a Family Care Clinic, we choose Ambulatory Care Centre as we are requesting more medical services that would be offered in a Family Care Clinic. A specific example is our need for observation spaces for patients.

Although the group name has changed, the request for specific services has not. The community is still requesting Alberta Health to provide Sylvan Lake and Area with:

-medical attention for non-life threatening injuries
-service available 7 days a week for extended hours
-serviced by Doctors, nurses and other appropriate medical personnel
-observation spaces
-access to Lab and D


Urgent Care Update for May 16, 2014
To read the press release click here.

Urgent Care Update for November 27, 2013

Thank you for Supporting Sylvan Lake & Area Urgent Care!

The Sylvan Lake & Area Urgent Care Committee (UCC) has been working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) & the Provincial Government to pursue the possibility of a Family Care Clinic (FCC) established in Sylvan Lake.

An FCC enhances the primary care option available to Albertans, and offers access to a range of health professionals with extended hours and same-day appointments. For the Sylvan Lake location, the UCC is requesting access to lab and x-ray equipment during the hours of operations with services available 7 days a week, and the capacity to handle the influx of visitors to the area on a year-round basis.

The UCC received approval from the Alberta Government on the application process of an FCC on Nov. 8, 2013. The next step is the “Formative Stage”, which includes the integration of medical services, a proposed governance structure, a proposed site & staffing, and the development of funding, resources & other supports. This stage will commence in January 2014.

Fundraising is well underway. Thank you to Sylvan Lake Tim Hortons Smile Campaign for the donation of $8,540 and to the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival for their commitment to future donations to be raised during their 2013 event.

For more info contact Susan Samson, Chair:


Thank you to the Sylvan Lake Tim Hortons for being the #1 Smile Cookie Fundraiser in Western Canada-
All proceeds go towards Urgent Care for Sylvan Lake and Area!

Urgent Care Update for October 16, 2013

The Urgent Care Committee has been working closely with our local Doctors and the Family Care Clinic Implementation Team to put together a proposal for a Family Care Clinic (FCC) for Sylvan Lake and Area. Phase 1 of the proposal was submitted to Alberta Health for review on October 1, 2013. We anticipate hearing back from Alberta Health within 30 days.

Our strategy is to build a medical model that includes all the elements we have identified for Urgent Care. These include medical services for non-life threatening injuries available 7 days a week, extended hours with access to Lab and x-ray. Because the only funding currently available is for a new FCC we are calling our proposal a Family Care Clinic. To qualify for this funding from the province we must also include extra services that will be provided by the Primary Care Network, like mental health workers and dieticians to name a few. If the province is agreeable to our proposed model, the next step will be to build the financial business case which will include details like location, equipment required and staffing costs.

A tremendous amount of work has gone on in the background and the Urgent Care Committee has never faltered in its mission to improve health care services for Sylvan Lake and Area. As you can see from the chart provided by Alberta Health Services for the service levels at the emergency department at Red Deer Regional Hospital, our case for a local solution only gets stronger. Why plug up the emergency rooms with injuries or ailments that can be treated in Sylvan Lake?

Urgent Care Update for August 7, 2013

The Urgent Care committee representing Sylvan Lake and Area, is pleased to be recognized by Alberta Health as a location that is suitable for a Family Care Clinic. Family Care Clinics have been identified as the model of health care delivery that would be customized to meet the needs of communities. We have notified the Alberta Government that our committee is interested in pursuing the establishment of a Family Care Clinic. To date we have attended 2 information stakeholder meetings in July. The province has put together an implementation team to support communities in their application for a Family Care Clinic. This implementation team has committed to prepare the initial documents required to move through the first steps of applying for a Family Care Clinic. Our vision is to have a Family Care Clinic located in Sylvan Lake that is open 7 days a week for extended hours and has access to laboratory and x-ray equipment. The first steps of the application need to be filed with the Alberta Government by September 30, 2013. The Urgent Care Committee is working with the implementation team to meet this deadline.

Urgent Care Update - June 12, 2013

The Urgent Care Committee met on June 11 to discuss the recent provincial announcement that targeted Sylvan Lake and Area for a Family Care Clinic. We have submitted our "Expression of Interest" back to the province and now will attend information sessions put on by Alberta Health support personnel with all area stakeholders. The committee is very excited and have their sleeves rolled up for the work to come. We will keep you posted!

Urgent Care Update - June 4, 2013

On behalf of the Urgent Care committee, we would like to thank Premier Redford and Minister Horne for listening and understanding the need to provide additional medical services for Sylvan Lake ans Area.

With the rapidly growing population in our area, it is important to provide health services where the people are located.

Family Care Clinics are not cookie cutter solutions and we anticipate that any new medical services will be customized to meet the needs of Sylvan Lake and Area by providing non-life threatening medical services including lab ans xray, 7 days a week with extended hours.

At this time the Urgent Care Committee needs to know more information to determine how the Family care clinic will meet the needs of our area including flexibility of the model and the provision of adequate funding.

Today's announcement is very good news for Sylvan Lake and Area and we look forward to examining the details and planning our future with the province, Alberta Health and Central Zone 5 Alberta Health Service.

Susan Samson, Chair
Urgent Care Committee

Read The Government of Alberta’s News Release Announcing Family Care Clinic in Sylvan Lake

An Update From the Urgent Care Committee- What is Urgent Care and What Can You Do?

Read the Red Deer Advocate’s article on Urgent Care in Sylvan Lake

Print your own “Support Urgent Care” sign to place in your home or shop window!

Urgent Care Update - March 2013

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee has been busy with our continuing pursuit of a facility for Sylvan Lake and Area. In February, the committee received a cheque for $12,256.00 from the Yuletide Festival. This represented the proceeds from the first ever, very successful Christmas event. All monies received will be held with David Thompson Health Trust for future medical equipment purposes.

Heather Donald, a Sylvan Lake resident, has been appointed to the David Thompson Health Advisory Board for a term set to expire on December 31, 2015. Our concerns dealing with medical gaps in Sylvan Lake and Area are well represented with Heather and the Committee is excited to have a stronger representation at the Advisory Board level.

The UC Committee has been reviewing the newly released draft for Family Care Clinics (FCC). The draft document which is available online at, outlines the governance procedures, funding and staffing commitments. Committee member, Dr. Brad Bahler has spent considerable time reviewing the document and discussing it with other physicians and Primary Care Networks (PCN).

At this time, the proposed governance structure is concerning to our doctors and the UC Committee. Certain components of the proposed structure, the committee considers essential, are excluded from program funding. Additionally, while the government is very clear about what is not funded under the proposed structure, what is funded is much less clear. We have identified our concerns in a letter to Health Minister Fred Horne that was copied to MLA Kerry Towle. A follow up phone call with the Health Minister’s office confirmed that they will consider our comments.

Minister Horne has always indicated that FCC will not be a “cookie cutter” solution and each FCC will be customized to meet the needs of the community. With this in mind, we are planning to send in a proposal with a business plan that identifies a “made in Sylvan Lake and Area” solution to the identified gaps in medical service. We will be focusing on the shared/expanded use of existing resources and the associated costs and staffing requirements.

The UC Committee is pleased to accept the re-direction of donations that were collected by Annie Boychuk after the untimely passing of her husband Brent Boychuk. These monies will be used to finance the development of a professional business plan for an Urgent Care centre for Sylvan Lake and Area.

“Our Tragic Story has touched the lives of many in this community and as far as Calgary, Ontario, Europe and beyond . We are very grateful to all who donated and continue in support of the desperate need of health care services here in Sylvan Lake. I know that by redirecting the money we have collected into the Urgent Care fund, we can strengthen our voice as a community. The province needs to know that we will not give up.”- Annie Boychuk

Residents are encouraged to continue to show support for UC by writing your MLA, Minister Horne and Premier Redford with the request to fund an UC centre. Donations can also be made online at or through the cash boxes located in various outlets in Sylvan Lake.

Inquiries can be directed to: , Chair
Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee
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Urgent Care Update - August 2012

Summer can be a relaxing time with family, friends and fun but the Urgent Care Committee has been busy to keep our message loud and clear: Sylvan Lake and Area needs an Urgent Care Facility.

With over 1 million visitors each year, we need to be able to provide timely, accessible medical treatment to non-life threatening injuries and sickness, 7 days a week with extended operating hours for our residents and our visitors.

After the Provincial election and the re-instatement of the PC government, we are pleased that MLA Fred Horne was re-appointed as Minister of Health. Minister Horne has clearly stated to the Urgent Care Committee in a letter dated March 9, 2012, that he understands our advocacy for an urgent care centre for Sylvan Lake and that the community’s needs are not currently being met. He also indicated that he was confident that Alberta Health Services will work with us to find shorter term solutions as discussed.

We also know that Premier Redford has promised Albertans 140 Family Care Clinics to be built in the next 4 years. The PC government is currently on tour talking to Albertans about what the citizens feel are the gaps in a publicly funded health care system. Sylvan Lake and Area will be part of this “Health Conversation” and we will again emphasize that we need an Urgent Care facility for Sylvan Lake and Area and we will report back to you. Premier Redford has gone on record stating that the proposed Family Care Clinics will not be “cookie cutter” solutions. Therefore we welcome a Family Care Clinic as long as it has lab and x-ray facilities accessible to our Doctors, 7 days a week with extended operating hours.

We are pleased to report that the profits from the upcoming Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival, taking place in Sylvan Lake on November 30 and December 1, 2012 will go towards our fund raising efforts to equip a treatment room inside a future Urgent Care Facility. All donations will be handled by the David Thompson Health Trust and we have identified a Bariatric Stretcher worth $13,000.00 as our first purchase for the Urgent Care Facility.

The Urgent Care Committee has been taking our message on tour over the summer. Good support shown by residents and visitors have shown excellent levels of support at our public events.

“I need Urgent Care” buttons are available thanks to the helping hands of the Youth Group at Gospel Chapel. Pick yours up at the front counter of the Town office and promote our cause!

We are working with Alberta Health Services to complete a business plan to be submitted to the Zone Integrated Plan in September 2012. This will be the foundation for future planning and financing of a facility for Sylvan Lake. In the meantime we are suggesting short term solutions to AHS to cover our needs.

Comments, questions or support can be directed to:
Urgent Care for Sylvan Lake and Area


Urgent Care Update - February 2012

The Urgent Care committee would like to thank all the supporters who left their warm homes to brave -35C and icy roads to attend the January 18th Town Hall meeting. We estimated approximately 550 people in attendance giving us overwhelming support and enthusiasm to move this initiative forward.

  • Since that meeting we have produced another 1000 ‘I Need Urgent Care’ buttons. They can be picked up at the town office or the Doctor’s offices in Sylvan Lake.
  • We have ordered 100 ‘Support Urgent Care’ yard signs which will be available at the town office at the cost recovery price of $10.00 each. We hope to have all the signs up before the local candidates come door knocking in the upcoming provincial election.
  • The Executive Committee met with members of the David Thompson Health Region Advisory Board who were on a Central Alberta tour to determine the gaps in health care. A strong presentation was made on the importance of an Urgent Care Centre for Sylvan Lake and area.
  • The Committee is working with Central Alberta Health Services on a business plan for urgent care in Sylvan Lake which will be entered into the Zone Integrated Plan for future funding. The plan has to be done by September to get consideration for next year. Our partners in Urgent Care, the Town of Bentley, Town of Eckville, Red Deer County, Lacombe County and the five Summer Villages are all submitting statistical information to Alberta Health Services to become part of this plan.
  • On February 21, the Executive Committee met with Health Minister Horne, MLA Luke Ouellette and Alberta Health Services, Central Zone, VP, Kerry Bales to discuss Urgent Care in Sylvan Lake. Minister Horne expressed his support of an Urgent Care Centre and further directed Alberta Health Services to work quickly and effectively with our committee to seek short and long term solutions. We were very pleased that our MLA was able to arrange this face to face meeting with positive results as the Health Minister has a challenging portfolio that puts a heavy demand on his time.

What you can do….

We need your assistance to show the strong need and desire for urgent care in Sylvan Lake. We need to keep this issue to the forefront in the media and it is important to remember to write letters to our decision makers requesting an Urgent Care Centre for Sylvan Lake and Area. There are many competing health care needs in our province and your support will help our need get the attention and support it deserves. Letters should be addressed to the Premier, Minister of Health, MLA and Alberta Health Services. (Please see contact information below.)

In the last few months we have made great strides in moving this initiative forward but we need to remember that the local Doctors have been lobbying Alberta Health Services for the past 20 years without progress. They cannot do this alone. Urgent Care for Sylvan Lake and Area needs a voice during the upcoming provincial election.

Questions or comments may be directed to:

    Susan Samson Chair,
    Sylvan Lake Urgent Care Committee
Urgent Care Contact List

Contacts for correspondence regarding the need for an Urgent Care Centre in Sylvan Lake.
Premier Alison Redford
#307 Legislature Building
10800-97 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
The MLA for your area:
Kerry Towle
Innisfail/Sylvan Lake
Eastgate Mall #18
4804- 42 Ave
Innisfail, AB, T4G 1T4
Minister of Health and Wellness
Honorable Fred Horne
#208 Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB. T5K 2B6
Rod Fox
#101, 4892, 46 St.
Lacombe, AB, T4L 2B4
Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House- Sundre
Joe Anglin
P.O Box 1626
101 Main Ave SE
Sundre, AB. T0M 1X0
Vice President, Alberta Health Services
Cathy McDonald
Central Zone – South
Urgent Care Button
  1. Wear your button! These are available at Town Office and doctor’s offices in our area.
  2. Read our powerpoint presentation from the January 18 Town Hall meeting
  3. Spread the word! Talk to your friends, family, neighbours and co-workers, and come find us on FaceBook to join the discussion
  4. Read our FAQ


1. What is an Urgent Care Centre? An Urgent Care Centre delivers, 7 days a week, non-hospitalized medical care for residents of Sylvan Lake and the surrounding area. Urgent Care Centres have imaging and laboratory facilities to assist with diagnosis. They also contain minor trauma rooms that allow for the repair of lacerations, fractures and foreign bodies. There will be beds with nursing care for patients that need to be held for short term observation or immediate care.
2. Why is Urgent Care the best choice for Sylvan Lake and area? Local physicians have been lobbying for an Urgent Care Centre in Sylvan Lake for the past 20 years. Alberta Health Services is in agreement that thisis the best model to deliver effective, convenient, cost effective medical care to the residents of Sylvan Lake and area.
3. 3. Who are our partners in this initiative? Sylvan Lake, Red Deer County, Lacombe County, Bentley, Eckville, Jarvis Bay, Norglenwold, Birchcliff, Sunbreaker Cove and Half Moon Bay.
4. What is the history of this issue? Initial discussions started with local physicians. A community-based committee was formed to spearhead the initiative. The committee developed a strategy to move forward, including going on tours of Urgent Care Centres in the province to become familiar with the model. An initial meeting was held with representatives of Alberta Health Services who said that a centre is “on their radar” but we are not in their current plans.
5. How would an Urgent Care Centre change my current care? An Urgent Care Centre in Sylvan Lake would be designed to augment, but in no way replace, the care provided by the family physicians in town. Urgent Care would fill the gaps in care created by the lack of an acute care facility in Sylvan Lake. People requiring hospital admission or higher level emergency services would still access the excellent services available at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
6. Why is an Urgent Care Centre the best choice? Urgent Care Centres have reduced wait times for treatment. It is more appropriate to be treated for non-urgent or semi-urgent problems in an Urgent Care Centre as opposed to the ER at Red Deer Regional hospital, which is already overcrowded and had long wait times. An Urgent Care Centre in Sylvan Lake will provide the area residents reasonable access to medical services as opposed to driving into Red Deer. An Urgent Care Centre can significantly improve health care in our communities at a substantially reduced cost and within shorter timelines.
7. What do we have already? We have local doctors who agree urgent care is the right answer and who are willing to offer their services to staff it. We have a highly motivated committee dedicated to leading this initiative to a successful conclusion. We have an agreement with Alberta Health Services to develop a business case and a proposal by September 2012 targeted for inclusion in their 2013-2014 Zone Integrated Plan.
8. What do we need? We need laboratory and imaging services after hours. Observation beds. Nursing services. Physical space which could be new or leased. Operating funds.
9. How can you help? Keep informed on the issue and spread the word. Speak to, call or write your MLA and Alberta Health Services.
What People Are Saying
Comment: This is a definite must have here in Sylvan Lake.. Enough said!
By: Jeremy Martins
Date 1/31/2012 11:42:16 AM
Comment: The waiting times for ER in Red Deer would be reduced leaving more time for serious illnesses to be seen. An urgent care facility would also free up time for our Doctors in town here. A win win situation for everyone involved.
By: Norene Reaume
Date 1/31/2012 12:26:37 PM
Comment: Our taxes will go up to pay for urgent care and all the extras that come with it. Plus it'll be all the tourists using it in the summer so we'll have to wait an extremely long time, their tax dollars won't pay for this. I'm totally against it. Put the urgent care facility in Red Deer, NOT Sylvan Lake.
By: Carrie
Date 2/25/2012 10:17:45 AM
Comment: The urgent care facility should be in Red Deer. People in Sylvan Lake don't need higher taxes and more traffic.
By: Curtis Klein
Date 2/26/2012 12:07:54 PM
Comment: The Town of Sylvan Lake and it's partnering municipalities are not proposing to get into the business of delivering health care rather we are lobbying the provincial government to provide and fully fund the services that are associated with an Urgent Care Centre.
By: Mayor Susan Samson
Date 2/27/2012 10:42:28 AM
Comment: Even if the government fully funds the urgent care facility our taxes will still go up. We'll have to pay for the increase in traffic, more traffic lights etc. and everything else that comes with it. If the town of Sylvan Lake is so concerned with the surrounding communities then put the urgent care in their town, like Eckville for example.
By: Carrie Klein
Date 3/9/2012 10:56:36 PM
Comment: Hi all, I am a nurse and I believe that Sylvan Lake would greatly benefit from having our own Urgent Care Centre. For those of you who said it should be in Red Deer because of increased taxes or because tourists would use it; firstly,ask yourself: would you rather pay a bit more taxes than wait 7 hrs in Red Deer ER? secondly, where do you think those tourists are going to go if there isn't a care centre in sylvan? Red deer, of course, making YOUR wait longer. the issue here is that there is just not enough doctors, nurses and thus wait times are ridicously long. We need another centre because the alternative is adding onto Red Deer hospital, which is a more expensive endeavor. I look forward to any responses! IRene :)
By: irene
Date 3/11/2012 12:52:00 PM
Comment: I would like to point out that as a fairly new resident to Sylvan Lake I soon found out the frustrations and difficulties of accessing medical care after moving here. I was not well one day and attempted to book an appointment to see a doctor. I was first asked if I had a regular physician. When I replied I did not at this time I was told that I could come down and they would try to fit me in but there was no guarantee that I would be seen. I did go down and after sitting there for two hours and not been seen yet I went to the other clinic who advised me that I needed to have a regular physician there in order to be seen there and that I should go to Red Deer walk in clinic. Which I did after much frustration. I then asked myself what if I did not have means to transportation? or know anyone who I felt comfortable asking for assistance to get me to Red Deer? Needless to say an urgent care facility is very much needed in the community.
By: Anonymous
Date 3/11/2012 7:28:56 PM
Comment: Pleased to read Sylvan Lake is getting a Family Care Clinic, which is a lot better. FCC will provide access to social workers, mental health counselors, Dr.'s, RN's, LPN's among many others. What a great decision to have FCC as opposed to urgent care, prevention instead of a band-aid solution aka urgent care. Emergencies and "urgent" care is rare, prevention is key. People need to to stop smoking, and incorporate more physical activity and healthier eating choices along with regular sleep schedules, its simple really. An FCC will promote these positive life choices and support the community. If people stop abusing the emergency dept. and utilizing one of our 3 walk-in clinics in town, then the people with "real" emergencies wouldn't have to wait 5+ hours. Also, note to the new anonymous resident, there is a new walk-in clinic connected to No-Frills, open extended hours. In addition, this is a town, not a city so if you want what the city offers, then perhaps you should move there, rural life is not for everybody.
By: Carrie
Date 4/4/2012 1:29:40 PM
Comment: Re: comments by "Carrie" I note that you and another family member have responded four times in this forum and the opinion you supply is filled with poorly supported information. Sylvan Lake is the largest community in this riding and yet has little of the services that could come with a population of 12,000 people. Despite your efforts, this community might achieve city status. I reject that we should be sentenced to your version of "rural life". The "Family Care Clinics" proposed by the government would do little to alleviate the issues that could be resolved with an Urgent Care Center. We already have the services of of the FCC's through our current population of Family Physicians. What we don't have is access to Lab and X-Ray on an after hours basis. The Walk-in Clinic attached to No-Frills will not meet that need. As an example, if a child or a senior has a fractured arm in Sylvan Lake under the current system, the patient (perhaps by ambulance) would be required to go to Red Deer to confirm the fracture by X-Ray and to the Emergency Department for a cast or splint. If Urgent Care was available in Sylvan Lake, the patient could be cared for in Sylvan Lake and be kept out of the Emergency waiting room in Red Deer. As Dr Bahler has pointed out so eloquently, this would build capacity for both communities,as the Red Deer Emergency would benefit from fewer visits from Sylvan Lake and area. As for prevention, school programs for our kids,Public Health initiatives and our current Family Medical clinics actively encourage more physical activity, cessation of smoking, healthier eating choices, regular sleep schedules and other pro-active lifestyle choices. As for the assertion that this would increase the taxes of Sylvan Lake residents, understand that Health is under Provincial, not Municipal jurisdiction. Carrie, if you do your homework, you will see that Urgent Care is overdue for our growing town and a win-win situation for for everyone here. As for your assertion that someone should "move to the city", I would suggest that you do not represent the majority of our town, who welcome new residents and want the best for all Sylvan Lakers.
By: Phil Norris
Date 4/12/2012 6:26:08 PM
Comment: I understand the comments of the new resident. When I have an urgent health issue, be it for my kids or myself I am torn between trying to be seen by my physician or going to Red Deer Emergency. And yes, what about those people in the community that do not have transportation available to them at a moments notice or enough money to pay for a taxi into the big ciy? Access to appropriate health care for all people should be on everyones mind. An urgent care facility would be great in cases where the injury or illness happens outside of clinic times when a physician is not available to give care. For example a cut requiring sutures, need for an x ray, acute onset of allergies, etc. All of these injuries/illnesses, wait behind long triage lines in a larger emergency center because that center also gets patients that need more emergent care and they are at the front of the line: which is where they should be. So it only makes sense to create an urgent care center where those less emergent but urgent health issues can be treated while decreasing the demand on the Emergency depts. I do not agree with denying our community a health center on the basis that it will end up getting filled up with tourists who need care. A community center should serve all people who are in that community whether they are passing through or not. I want an urgent care center and I agree that it is long overdue.
By: Julia
Date 5/3/2012 9:49:12 PM
Comment: Great update! Simply satisfied through knowing this update of urgent care. thanks mate and keep it up. :)
By: Mark waugh
Date 5/19/2012 4:05:26 AM
Comment: It's such a pain to have to drive to red deer everytime my kid breaks a bone or someone needs stitches... We have many surrounding towns that could use this facility as well. I don't care about higher taxes or more traffic if it means my family can have a better life. We save on gas anyways
By: Brooke
Date 6/25/2012 4:24:37 PM
Comment: August 18th......a Father, Husband, Son lost his LIFE! Two out of two doctors offices were closed, LOCKED UP for the day! This wonderful human being was having a HEART ATTACK and couldn't find HELP! Collapsing due to the HEART ATTACK, his brave daughter tried CPR on him to no avail. How devastating for her! Devastating for the entire family! Devastating and scary for the people of Sylvan Lake and surrounging areas! The Town of Sylvan Lake is in desperate need for a facility IMMEDIATELY not TOMORROW or four years down the road!
By: Linda
Date 9/2/2012 8:48:44 PM
Comment: I'm with you on this one Linda....fours years is way too long to have to wait... sure didn't take the Town of Sylvan Lake 4 years to decide to put those condo bathrooms up now did it..... Concerned frequent visitor with family in Sylvan Lake whom we care about alot.
By: Shelley
Date 9/19/2012 3:51:16 PM
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