New family doctor fills urgent need

A new doctor will begin practicing at Open Health Niverville on June 1, 2022. Dr. Lila Boroditsky is joining the team as a full-time general family doctor starting in late spring.

Specializing in full-scope medicine, Dr. Boroditsky will fill a long-standing vacancy at the clinic, which is owned and operated by the town.

She is also an answer to the growing need for more family practitioners in southeast Manitoba. Rural doctors continue to be in short supply and thousands of Manitobans remain without a family doctor.

In August 2021, Family Doctor Finder, an online registration service connecting individuals with doctors or nurse practitioners taking new patients, reported that almost 5,000 Manitobans were registered as still waiting.

The online service receives approximately 2,000 new requests per month and many of them go unfulfilled.

“The clinic is always looking at ways to expand services in the community,” says Kristen Fyfe, business manager for Open Health. “Dr. Boroditsky’s hiring will help fulfill a need for a large number of patients in our area who are without a family practitioner. The goal is to continue to expand these services so that care stays closer to home. As we learned recently with Niverville being the fastest growing community in the province, we are planning ahead for continued growth and therefore we strive to make provider recruitment and retention a focal point.”

Dr. Boroditsky is currently accepting new patients, with priority given to Niverville residents living within postal codes R0A 1E0, R0A 0A1, and R0A 0A2.

To handle the influx of requests, Open Health has created an intake email address for anyone meeting the criteria: This email will be open until April 7.

To register, please include a full legal name, phone number, and civic and mailing address (do not send medical information). Patients will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

This is the first time Open Health has created a registration email to facilitate intake upon the hiring of a new physician.

“There is a high need for family doctors in our region, so we anticipated a large influx of calls coming into the clinic upon the release of our announcement,” said Fyfe. “In order to manage these requests for registration, we felt the email would help streamline this process and allow our phone lines to remain open for the regular calls for appointments and for our patients’ daily needs.”

Following the registration period, qualifying patients will be contacted to attend a meet-and-greet appointment with Dr. Boroditsky.

“At this time, the meet-and-greet appointments will be in-person,” Fyfe explains. “These appointments are an opportunity for the provider to learn the medical history of the patient and determine whether this fits into their scope of practice. It also provides the opportunity for the provider to explain a treatment plan and determine whether the patient requires more immediate follow-ups or educate on appropriate timelines for check-ups, etc. The meet-and-greet is also of benefit to the patient, who will have an opportunity to ask questions of the provider and determine if they are a good fit for themselves.”

Open Health reports that they are seeing registration mails coming in every day. However, at the time of this writing the list was not yet full.

“We are still accepting registration requests,” says Fyfe. “If we are able to open up to further geographical areas after the one-month Niverville priority period, we would likely continue to use the same email procedure going forward. We are asking patients to check our website and Facebook pages around April 8 for more information about that. Once the patient list is full, we will release another announcement and likely close the email at that time.”

Open Health continues to work diligently to fill doctor vacancies to meet the needs of residents in both Niverville and the surrounding communities.

Recently the clinic welcomed Dr. Henry Wood, who joined the clinic in a temporary capacity. Dr. Wood will be extending his term to cover the maternity leave of Dr. Coutts.

“We are aiming for him to stay until January 2023, but we will know more closer to the end of the year,” says Fyfe.

To facilitate care during the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Health has also adapted to shift as many appointments as possible to virtual or phone consultations. The clinic says virtual appointments are effective and will continue to be an integral piece of their healthcare services.

However, they are also seeing more in-person appointments in recent months.

“Virtual care has been very helpful when reaching patients who are unable to travel due to inclement weather, or those with mobility issues,” says Fyfe. “Other times an in-person visit is not required, such as with regular prescription renewals, or recent follow-up visits. At peak times of the pandemic, we certainly increased our virtual care. However, in-person appointments always remained when needed. At this time, we still offer both options for patients.”

Getting to Know Dr. Boroditsky

Dr. Lila Boroditsky grew up in Winnipeg, but a recent move to the country means she has shortened her commute. She is enjoying country life along with her husband, three kids, and Tina, the family Bernadoodle.

“I don’t live in Niverville, but I’m just 20 minutes away,” says Boroditsky. “I just purchased a five-acre lot so I’m nice and close, about midway between the city and Niverville.”

After completing high school in Winnipeg, Boroditsky attended university in Cape Breton. She then returned to Manitoba to complete medical school and a masters in pharmacology at the University of Manitoba. Although she’s had the opportunity to live in a fair number of different cities, Winnipeg has always been home.

Throughout the interview process with Open Health, Dr. Boroditsky was able to get to know Niverville and she is excited to serve the community.

“I have had a fair amount of time I’ve been able to spend out in Niverville over the last year, and I’ve really grown to love the community, the spirit, and I’ve made some good friends out there,” says Boroditsky. “I’m just excited for this new opportunity and the growth I see around town and my work in the clinic. There’s a real energy here and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Boroditsky is also excited to bring her experience in family medicine to the region, a specialization she sees as being able to meet the needs of a wide variety of people. The variety of medical needs represented in family practice keeps her intrigued and passionate about her job.

“You never quite know what you’ll be walking into and every day is different,” says Boroditsky. “There are so many opportunities to learn and grow. I practice full-scope medicine, so this means I have knowledge applicable to newborns all the way to geriatrics. I had previously done all my own obstetrics, including deliveries, so I’m fully comfortable with the full scope of family medicine.”

Boroditsky may be comfortable with a wide variety of healthcare needs, but she fully admits that she struggled with a lot of the same things others struggled with during the pandemic.

For example, learning to care for a sourdough starter gave her quite a challenge.

“I will truthfully admit, my sourdough starter didn’t make it. I named it even, but it was a no,” says Boroditsky. “I’m fairly diversified with regards to my hobbies, though. I love learning new things and I honestly believe that you don’t have to be good at a hobby to enjoy it. I do a lot of gardening, I love indoor houseplants. We are looking forward to getting some chickens this year. I’ve never had chickens before, so it’ll be a bit of a gamble. If anyone has some pointers or tips, that would be appreciated.”

Now that they live on an acreage, her family looks forward to learning about animal care. Her kids—ages 6, 10, and 13—keep Boroditsky busy outdoors.

As for indoors, their home required some renovations. She says she and her husband have by necessity gotten fairly comfortable with do-it-yourself projects.

“Anything home renovation and DIY has been on my radar lately,” she adds. “And I really enjoy it, making my space feel like home.”


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