Helping those most in need find a primary care provider

September 4, 2018 – A Winnipeg community health centre is fast-tracking matches between primary care providers and some of the city’s most vulnerable people, many who have not seen a doctor for many years.
Pathway Project has already linked primary care providers at the health centre to over 80 people who would otherwise have no health care – or who would visit hospital emergency rooms for multiple health concerns. A primary care provider can be any member of a primary care team – a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner or other health care worker.

“The general public can contact the Family Doctor Finder program. But for those who find it difficult to navigate the system, are homeless, or do not have access to a telephone that would prevent them from using the Doctor Finder line, we have developed this fast-track process,” said Monique Constant, Executive Director at Centre de santé Saint-Boniface, which operates the program from its bilingual clinic.

To make the match, Centre de santé works with community organizations and provincial programs such as Employment and Income Assistance (EIA), to help people with urgent medical needs fill out the registration form and contact Centre de santé to set up an appointment within three days.

The “Pathway Project” name (Projet Passerelle in French) was chosen to represent a path or bridge for clients who may otherwise have a hard time finding a doctor.

“Our goal is to assist individuals in accessing care and removing barriers to meet their needs,” said primary care nurse Renée Moquin, who facilitates first contact for clients who come in via Pathway Project. “They are often discouraged and think they will not find a care provider so they are very grateful for these connections.”

If the client doesn’t show up for their initial appointment, Centre de santé follows up with the community partner who facilitated the connection to the clinic to ensure wraparound support, Moquin added.

“We reconnect with that community agency and try to get the person to come back in. We know it’s not always easy for them, but we don’t let them fall through the cracks,” she said.

Une fois qu’un client est jumelé à un fournisseur de soins de santé primaires grâce à ce programme, le service sera assuré à long terme.
Through the program, once the client is matched with a primary care provider, they can stay with that provider long term.
Some clients haven’t seen a physician for decades various reasons, including just because they have not found a French-speaking provider, Moquin said.

“Once we make the connection our clients are able to deal with long-standing health issues, which can be the first step for them in putting their lives back together.”

Centre de santé, the Francophone primary health centre, offers bilingual services to the French-speaking population of Winnipeg and to the residents of St. Boniface, with programs and services delivered by a team including physicians, nurse practitioners, primary care nurses, dietitians, mental health counsellors, an exercise specialist, and a pharmacist.
Pathway Project by the numbers

  • 83 – vulnerable people Centre de santé Saint-Boniface has matched with primary care providers through the Pathway Project
  • 3 – number of days from the initial contact with the nurse to their first scheduled appointment
  • 11 – primary care physicians on staff at Centre de santé Saint-Boniface primary care clinic
  • 2 – nurse practitioners on staff at Centre de santé Saint-Boniface primary care clinic
  • 6 – primary care nurses on staff at Centre de santé Saint-Boniface primary care clinic
  • 2 – languages Pathway Project clients can be served in: French or English
  • 1500 – approximate number of people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg(Preliminary Findings 2018 Street Census –

For more information and interviews, please contact:
Linh Tran
Coordonnatrice des communications/Communications Coordinator
Centre de santé Saint-Boniface