Regional Joint Assessment Centre

The Regional Joint Assessment Centre (RJAC) helps adults with hip and knee problems that cause pain and difficulty moving.

The Program was developed as part of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Wait Time Strategy to improve access to joint replacement surgery and improve care for patients with osteoarthritis.

Arthritis continues to be one of the main sources of hip and knee pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, usually develops in weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. It is sometimes called degenerative arthritis because the cartilage in the joint starts breaking down over time. This is why it tends to occur as we get older. Normally, cartilage acts as a buffer and shock absorber between joints. As the cartilage breaks down, the bones in the joints no longer have that protective layer. This can lead to serious injury causing pain and reducing mobility.

The RJAC provides one point of contact for patients who are referred to the program by their primary care provider or a physician. If your knee or hip pain is stopping you from doing the activities you enjoy, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to RJAC.

Although surgery isn’t always the answer for every patient, we can quickly assess your joint pain and determine the best treatment options for your condition.

Our goal is to work with you to reduce your pain so that you can stay active.

RJAC has four locations throughout Northwestern Ontario: Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora, and Fort Frances, which are all connected through one centralized referral system.

In an effort to build a program that is more responsive to patients’ needs for timely service and to support Primary Care Practitioners in accessing that care on their patients’ behalf, we have transitioned to a Central Intake for Spine Referrals. As a result, we are no longer accepting direct referrals for neurosurgery or orthopedic spine consultations. Beginning Monday March 4th, any spine consult referrals previously sent to the office of Dr. Marchuk, Dr. Haq, Dr. McCluskey, Dr. Marion or Dr. Puskas will be faxed to the Spine Central Intake at 1-844-497-2445.

What is the difference between the Spine Program Central Intake and ISAEC Low Back Pain Program?

The current combined centralized intake model does not include the initial assessment by the Advanced Practice Provider (APP). The ISAEC program will exist within the centralized intake. We will continue to provide assessment for all ISAEC referrals and the ISAEC referral form is still to be used for those patient sub-types within the comprehensive Spine Program. Non-ISAEC spine program referrals will by-pass the Assessment Centre and are routed direct to surgeon. If the surgeon reviews the referral and deems the patient does not require a spine surgical consult, the referral may be declined.

We expect the Spine Program will evolve to provide an Assessment component. The centralized intake will provide us with the necessary data to work towards the expansion of Spine with the assessment component. As this evolves we will continue to work with primary care givers to be able to provide necessary non operative strategies without reducing access to patients that are surgical candidates.

For more information, visit the Regional Joint Assessment Centre homepage.