Thunder Bay

Red Lake doctor joins Premier's Council on Improving Health Care

Dr. Lisa Habermehl's first meeting is Monday night.

Dr. Lisa Habermehl's first meeting is Monday night.

Dr. Lisa Habermehl decided to close her practice in Kenora, Ont., in 2018 as she felt more advocacy for patients was needed from northwestern Ontario. On Monday, she joins the Premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine. (Dr. Lisa Habermehl/Twitter)

A doctor from Red Lake, Ont., will attend her first meeting Monday as part of the Premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine.

Dr. Lisa Habermehl was appointed to the council in December. 

She hopes to help improve health care across the province and make it more equitable and accessible for people in the north, she said, adding that she wants to reduce the levels of early and preventable deaths and preventable illness that currently exist in the northwest and northeast. 

"Involving virtual care that makes sense in the context [and] maintains continuity would be things that I would certainly love to explore," she said. 

The Ford government has been moving to reduce provincial spending, and Habermehl said she's not sure if it's possible to improve health care and end hallway medicine without increasing funding — but she said the health care system could definitely run more efficiently.

"Generally, there's an agreement that up to about 30 per cent of health care that happens right now may not be as necessary as we think they are," she said, "and as a clinician, I can tell you that there are certainly ways that the system can work better for relatively little or no cost changes."

Habermehl is currently doing lots of reading and speaking with people in an effort to get up to speed on the policy issues she'll be dealing with, she said. 

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