The Old Yarmouth Courthouse – Brian & Tamara Moses

Brian and Tamara Moses have made a big splash recently with the renovation of the old courthouse in Yarmouth into a medical centre, read about their motivations for doing so and their plans for the future.

Photo: Carla Allen Photo, Tri-County Vanguard, Saltwire Network.

What vision do you have for the future of your medical centre?

What I see is a place where patients can come and have a variety of things done and not have to go from place to place. We want to have a multidisciplinary team here which would include nursing, social work, dieticians, maybe physiotherapy down the line as well as physicians which are both generalists like family doctors, and specialists. We just have the beginnings of that now.

What we also want to see is for the patients of the family practice to have ready access to a family physician. We plan to have 4 family physicians here. The idea would be that if one of them was not in the office that day and was maybe working in the ER or Hospital then their patient would still be able to book a same-day appointment with another physician in the clinic. Ideally, the patients would have same-day access to either their own family doctor or 1 of the other 3 doctors in the clinic. That doctor would have access to the patients’ records and be able to see what allergies they have, what other health problems they have, and then they would be able to make decisions, prescribe and come up with a plan. That plan would then be known to their family doctor because it’s in the system. The difference between this sort of collaborate clinic and a typical walk-in clinic is that if you go to Halifax and go to a walk-in clinic, they don’t know anything about you, what medications you’re on, what allergies you have, or what health issues you have and when they prescribe something, your family doctor doesn’t know what they did or why other than what you tell them.

What made you want to open a medical centre in Yarmouth?

First of all, I’m from here, so as far as my practice goes I wanted to practice here in Yarmouth. Initially I had set up a practice in the Hospital and I didn’t want to stay there for a variety of reasons. When I was looking at options for moving out there wasn’t really anywhere for me to go so I started looking at options for a building. The question for me was “Am I just going to go out on my own or could I go somewhere with other people?”. I’ve always loved this building so it was a very attractive option for me to potentially move here, but we thought about it for well over a year before the decision came to buy it and renovate it. It was a big project! Thankfully my wife Tamara put in a lot of time in terms of the day-to-day overseeing of the project as it went on because there was just too much for me to be doing.

Once we have decided to go this route there were a lot of conversations with different people such as specialists and family doctors to discuss how we want this clinic to look and how the models should be. I found some people with like-minded ideas who wanted to come and build the same sort of model that I was talking about. Now the next step is getting doctors from away to come and join into that.

Have you named the new medical centre?

We don’t have a name for it yet. We still have just been using the name “The Old Courthouse”. Eventually we plan to come up with a name but it has just fallen by the wayside of priorities of other things going on.

Why should someone come and work/live in Yarmouth?

I think there are several reasons! I’ll admit that I’m biased because I grew up in Yarmouth, but I love Yarmouth and think it’s a beautiful town. The pace of life is very nice here and it’s a great place to raise children. Beyond the lifestyle aspects which are very strong such as having the ocean nearby, lakes, having the weather we have which is much milder than most of Canada.

One of our biggest attractions when we’ve had people come for site visits is the other people that work here; how friendly they are, how easy they are to work with. We have a very collegial staff at the Hospital as it’s an easy place to work and everyone gets along very well. If somebody has an issue that comes up and you need to change your call schedule, everyone bends over backward to help each other out. The struggle then becomes convincing them to stay here. We need to continue to find other ways to make it easier for professionals to want to stay here.

I really feel that if we had a functioning Airport that we would have a much easier time to recruit professionals here. The people that we lose here when we have exit interviews with them all have a common theme of “It’s just too far to go to the Airport.” They have family members away so if they want to go visit them and it makes for a long trip. I think that if we had commercial flights here that our retention would be much better.

Are you accepting new patients?

At the present time we have 2 family doctors here and 2 specialists here. Specialists don’t necessarily accept new patients as they’ll get referrals from a family doctor or complicated patients. The 2 family doctors here currently aren’t accepting new patients but we do have a resident here that’s in training and will be finishing this year to join our team. We don’t have a date for this yet.

What I would tell patients who are looking for a family doctor is to sign up with 811 because what is being recommended to all physicians starting a practice now is to use the 811 list of patients without family doctors. They’ll go to that list and see who’s been waiting the longest and bring patients on that way.

Are you accepting new physicians?

We want people who want to be here. I’m not really interested in “return of service” like someone who’s signed on to do 3 or 4 years because they’re made to come here.

Beyond that, we obviously want skilled physicians and people who are good communicators. Being a good physician is not just knowing medicine and knowing how to diagnose problems, it’s also knowing how to talk to patients and knowing how to comfort them when a bad diagnosis is received. We want people who not only know what they’re doing medically but also ones who know how to explain things to patients in a way that they can understand.