By Trevor Busch
Business has been good for Coulee Medical Clinic since swinging open their doors on Aug. 31, and staff have been busy setting up operations to meet the needs of new and existing clientele.
Celebrating Small Business Week in 2020 (Oct. 18-24), Dr. Ryan Torrie and clinic manager Stan Torrie are excited to be bringing this new service to Taber and area.
“We grew up in the Taber area, farming and ranching, and we love to provide service back in our own community,” said Ryan. “I had been with the Taber Clinic previously, and our needs kind of outgrew our space there, and we needed more staff for some of the stuff we do, the gastroenterology work, and just the general clinic. And we have a business style that we wanted to pursue, and this has allowed us the space, and some independence and economy to be able to do that.”
Temporarily located in the old Taber Clinic building at 5016 48th Avenue, the duo have big plans in place for construction of a new facility at 5030 Westview Gate off 50th Avenue directly north of the Taber Hospital.
“We love the location, because it’s close to the hospital,” continued Ryan. “For me, I work in the emergency room, I provide emergency services for backup for deliveries, so emergency c-sections, scopes, and whatever, so we have to be readily available to the hospital. And it’s a busy thoroughfare on 50th (Avenue) right on the way out of town, so lots of traffic coming through there, that corridor. And it’s been left vacant for years, with weeds and a mess, and so we thought it would be nice to contribute to the community, clean that area up, and provide a nice commercial-residential development.”
Other plans for the location will include a seniors living facility in addition to a variety of other services.
“We’re planning to put up a seniors living centre in the back, about a 28-plex, so having that close to the hospital for care, and a dentist, doctor’s office, and other services that will be in that little subdivision,” said Ryan. “It’s close to the walking path, the golf course, it’s a very attractive location. There will also be food services in our subdivision, so that will be a nice addition to the community and to that neighbourhood, and to those individuals that are living their as well.”
Giving something back to their hometown community figured prominently in the pair’s plans to create their own clinic.
“As far as being hometown, that was something really important, we wanted to contribute to the community here, so we have a lot of great partners and friends that we work with here that make doing business here easier, because you know people and you can collaborate and cooperate with others,” said Stan. “Even though it’s not a really large centre as far as population, there’s a lot of great work that you can do, and new opportunities, and that’s one thing that will be part of the new building is new business opportunities, and some of that will be in collaboration with others here in the community.”
Services offered include general family practice, general obstetrics and gynecology, general gastroenterology care, general dermatology, and general men’s care.
“I think just in general we’re passionate about health care, and we have a team that’s passionate about health care, and we want to try to provide excellent care and be available when people need access,” said Ryan. “I do a lot of gastroenterology work in our community — I’m not a pure gastroenterologist, I’m kind of rural GP/surgeries. So I do some primary care, and then some specialty care — I deliver babies, I do c-sections, some of that surgical work in obstetrics, and then I also do the general
gastroenterological stuff like colonoscopies. I’m the only one in town that does the gastroenterology stuff. We do a lot of dermatological stuff, some procedural stuff with skin care, skin cancers, surgical treatment for that.”
The relationship in dealing with the Town of Taber in getting the clinic up and running was a positive experience, relates Ryan.
“It’s been fantastic. I’ve been working with the town for many years on a bunch of different projects, and they’re fantastic. We worked with the fire department to get the place safety inspected, up to code and all that, and they were great to work with there. As far as getting open for business, permits, we worked with the town and they were very responsive. We’ve had an excellent relationship with the town.”
“I think it’s a fantastic community. There’s a good, solid economic base. We don’t feel the fluctuations with the oilfield because of the ag sector here. I find the economy is very stable.”
Always a question in the health and wellness field in Alberta in 2020, Coulee Medical Clinic strives to meet the needs of patients in a timely fashion.
“High quality of care, but getting people seen as quickly as possible when they are sick, not two or three weeks later when the problem has been resolved, or other issues have come up, or they had to go somewhere else for care,” said Stan. “We want to be sure they can get care here.”
Ryan echoed this commitment from the clinic and his staff.
“Extremely critical. Patient care to me is critical; I think that has to be your primary focus. In a normal business it’s your clients, and we like to think in health care in terms of patients that have needs that we want to meet. We want to be available, we want to provide the expert care that they need and make sure that’s our primary concern. It’s not financial, it’s not anything else; it’s being available for when they need us, and being able to provide rapid access and excellent care.”
The clinic is open Monday-Wednesday-Thursday (9:30 – 5 p.m.), Tuesday (2:30 – 6:30 p.m.), Friday (2:30 – 5 p.m.), and closed on weekends. The clinic can be contacted at 403-223-3380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.