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Headwaters Radiologist Hopes to Bring Skills to Shelburne

Headwaters Radiologist Hopes to Bring Skills to Shelburne

A local radiologist is looking to provide his services to the residents of Shelburne and the surrounding area.

On October 18, 2021, Shelburne Council heard from Dr. Michael Stefanos, a radiologist with Headwaters Health Care Centre, who requested support in bringing medical diagnostic services to the area, including ultrasounds and x-rays. Dr. Stefanos proposes to base his practice out of the Mel Lloyd Center and requested assistance with start-up costs. Dr. Stefanos also demonstrated a need for lobbying from council to higher tiers of government, including our local member of provincial parliament. Council resolved to assist Dr. Stefanos in his mission to open a medical diagnostic imaging facility in Shelburne by having the mayor send letters to other stakeholders and the appropriate authorities.

“There’s been an identified need for this kind of service in Shelburne for many years, dating back to when Shelburne actually had a hospital and x-ray services.” said Dr. Stefanos. ” There was talk at that time to advance it to include ultrasound but that never came to.”

Opening a medical diagnostic imaging clinic isn’t as simple as raising money and securing space, outlined Dr. Stefanos. He explained that the difficulty comes with obtaining a license to do so.

“You actually have to move a license from somewhere else in Ontario,” Dr. Stefanos told council. “There haven’t been new licenses for diagnostic image clinics issued since the ’80s, so they just move them from one place to another without the creation of any new ones.”

Dr. Stefanos explained that obtaining a license would require that the Ministry of Health acknowledges a need for medical diagnostic services in the Dufferin catchment area and that the license be transferred from another catchment area that is determined to be at least adequately serviced. He said that ministry data shows Dufferin County is adequately serviced, therefore ineligible to have a license transferred in from outside the catchment area.

“That means they could not even consider an application,” told Dr. Stefanos. “Because, according to their data, everything is adequately serviced in Dufferin.”

Dr. Stefanos told council how he has since reached out to local physicians and asked if they perceived a need for medical diagnostic services locally. A letter from Dr. Gursharan Soor, the medical director of Dufferin Oaks Long Term Care Home and Shelburne Long Term Care Home & Retirement Community, told that urgent medical imaging is needed. Dr. Soor wrote that the lack of medical diagnostic imaging in the area requires sending many long-term care residents to the local emergency department, contributing to the burden of already overcrowded hospitals. Moreover, at the council meeting, Dr. Stefanos was accompanied by Dr. Amy Catania, a family physician treating patients in Shelburne for close to a decade.

“I can say my biggest challenge moving my practice from the Orangeville area to the Shelburne area has been the lack of diagnostic imaging,” said Dr. Catania. “The thing I find the most frustrating for patients and the residents in Shelburne’s surrounding areas is the lengths that they have to travel to get the diagnostic tests, and unfortunately, they’re travelling great lengths when they’re sick.”

Dr. Catania told Shelburne council that the lack of local diagnostic imaging influences whether doctors will order tests and how they manage patients. Dr. Catania says that the landscape has changed since she was the sole physician that came to Shelburne in 2012. Ten family physicians now operate in the area, which results in more tests being ordered. Dr. Catania suspects that the Ministry of Health has old data and isn’t fully aware of the influx of citizens to the community.

Dr. Stefanos outlined that he has yet to receive support from the Hills of Headwaters Ontario Health Team, a group of health and care organizations and providers located in Dufferin-Caledon. Organizations involved with the Hills of Headwaters Ontario Health Team include Headwaters Health Care Centre, Extendicare, and Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health.

“There’s some need for them to do some homework to assess the impact on Headwaters Hospital if a license is opened in Shelburne,” said Dr. Stefanos.

Dr. Stefanos shows data indicating that local physicians belonging to the Dufferin Area Family Health Team ordered approximately 2,900 tests for North Dufferin patients in 2019, with an expected growth of 5% to 10% per year. Stefanos estimates the current number to be about 3,500 tests annually. Currently, those in the area must go to Orangeville, Alliston, Markdale, and Fergus to obtain diagnostic imaging services. Dr. Catania says she even has patients being sent to Collingwood regularly.

‘When is diagnostic imaging coming to Shelburne?” Dr. Catania says she is asked daily by her patients.

Mayor Wade Mills explained how he and Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson had conversations with staff from Headwaters before COVID on the issue of bringing medical diagnostics to Shelburne. However, the matter was set aside due to the pandemic. Mills emphasized that it is more than just people in Shelburne who lack these services, saying it would be the northern part of Dufferin County, as well as southern parts of Grey County, in addition to areas of Simcoe County.

“This is not just a Town of Shelburne issue,” said Mayor Mills. “The more help and more support we can get from a larger base, the better it’ll be.”

Councillor Walter Benotto suggested that, in addition to asking for the support of mayors in the surrounding municipalities, Mills reach out to Dufferin-Caledon Member of Provincial Parliament Sylvia Jones and verbally communicate with her about the lack of diagnostic imaging in the area.

“The fact that we’ve grown and the amount of people we are drawing into this community, she should advocate on our behalf to the Ministry of Health,” said Councillor Benotto. “I think her voice added to all of ours would be extremely helpful.”

Councillor Lynda Buffett advised adding a few more names to the list of communications being sent out, such as the Minister of Health and the Premier of Ontario.

“We’ve got an election coming up next year, and that might be a good opportune time to make sure that they realize that this is a very important issue,” remarked Councillor Buffett.

Constituents can contact Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones office with their concerns by calling her office at 519-941-7751 or e-mailing

References – Headwaters Radiologist Hopes to Bring Skills to Shelburne

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