PA/MD Team, Downtown Toronto Doctors a Recipe for Success
Chris LeBouthillier and Dr. James McNally are improving access to care for patients in their downtown Toronto clinic.
Chris and Dr. McNally met when Chris was having his blood work screening tested for PA School. Dr. McNally had not heard of the PA program before meeting Chris and was curious enough to spend some extra time discussing the program. During a follow-up visit, Chris asked Dr. McNally if he would consider taking him on as a student. Dr. McNally agreed and after his successful clerkship, Chris brought up the subject of full-time employment. Having first-hand experience of the benefits that a PA could bring to his practice, Dr. McNally offered Chris full-time employment, to work under his supervision at a new clinic that he was planning to open. Two years later the partnership between these two health professionals could not be better.
Dr. James McNally grew up in Alberta and studied medicine at the University of Alberta. He did an internship in New Zealand. When he returned to Canada in 1980, he settled on Manitoulin Island, Ontario and practiced general rural medicine, based in a 24 bed hospital. In 2001 he moved to Toronto, switching from rural medicine to downtown urban family practice. In 2011, he and his MD partner, Dr. Alya Rahim, started their own family practice clinic and he hired Chris to work with him. Having Chris on staff has enabled Dr. McNally to provide more complex diverse care to his patient population. In addition to Dr. McNally and Dr. Rahim, the clinic has two associate physicians and Dr. Rahim will be hiring her own PA this fall.
Chris originally from Sudbury, Ontario has an undergraduate degree from Laurentian University in Health Promotion. He is also a recent graduate from the McMaster University Physician Assistant program. Upon graduation Chris travelled to Zimbabwe in the summer of 2011 to volunteer at Howard Hospital doing hospitalist medicine and minor surgical procedures. Immediately upon his return he began working with Dr. McNally.
In the Downtown Toronto Doctors clinic, patient satisfaction is high. Patients can be seen same day or the next at all times. Having a PA on hand has enabled the clinic to expand their roster of patients without issue thus increasing the number of individuals that the clinic is able to serve. Patients understand the PA/MD relationship and there is no issue with Chris providing care. In fact there are instances where patients are calling to book appointments with Chris directly. Dr. McNally could not be more pleased with the level of care that Chris is providing. He feels that having a PA helps to provide better patient care through increased appointment availability, shortened wait times, and more flexible management of a larger patient roster. In addition, having a PA to share the workload, helps to prevent burnout and allows each of them to spend more time with complex patients, without worrying that the patient queue is backing up. Chris enjoys his role tremendously and is thankful to be part of a team that has such a high level of respect for his skills and abilities.
After having worked with a PA for almost two years, Dr. McNally states “I think that PAs are destined to become an indispensable part of health care in Ontario.” Dr. McNally is very supportive of the PA role in Canada and often has been the first to approach other physicians to tout the benefits that this health profession can bring to any medical practice. Both Chris and Dr. McNally look forward to a long and prosperous working relationship and improving patient care, one step at a time.