New health care strategy unveiled 0
By Robin Dudgeon
The province recently released its blueprint to help protect universal healthcare for Manitoba families.
Focused on What Matters Most: Manitoba's Plan to Protect Universal Health Care, has three key components: healthier Manitobans, better health services and better value.
These components include many programs which are already in motion in the province, regional officials suggested.
"I think many of the initiatives that are in the plan - and the things that are spelled out in each of the three pillars - really are already under way in Manitoba," said Kathy McPhail, CEO of the southern regional health authority.
"I think going forward ... we'll see that those efforts will just become a little more profiled or maybe will become a bit more strategic."
The province's focus on healthier Manitobans will focus efforts on tobacco reduction, injury prevention, increasing access to screening, improve breast-feeding rates, increasing physical activity and healthy diets.
"I think this plan that the department has released has certainly nailed it. It's basically saying to help us not only to be healthier in the short term but to also provide longer term life expectancy as well," said McPhail.
Focusing on better health care services will expand home care and nursing to ensure all Manitobans have access to a family doctor.
While better value will see the province taking steps to streamline health care administration with fewer regional health authorities, limiting corporate spending and improving financial accountability, aggressively expanding bulk purchasing and ensuring Manitoba is getting fair prices for generic drugs, reducing workplace injuries and continuing to hire and train alternate health care providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Overall, the plan is something that the RHA supports.
"I think what it does is it just emphasizes and endorses the work that we are already doing, and it raises the profile," said McPhail.
"That is really helpful. Whether it's talking about vaccinations, or whether it's talking about screening for cancer all of those things are programs that we have under way and are trying to grow."
To read the full plan, go online to www.gov.mb.ca/health/plan.html.
Meanwhile, there are familiar faces on the new board for the regional health authority.
Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced the permanent boards of directors for the new regional health authorities.
And for the Southern RHA, former Central RHA chair Denise Harder of Portage la Prairie will remain at the helm.
Area representatives appointed to the 15-member board are: Paul Cenerini (Notre Dame de Lourdes), Donna Harasymec (Morden), Don Kuhl (Winkler), Cheryl McKitrick (Crystal City) and Daren Van Den Bussche (Portage la Prairie).
They are joined by vice-chair Guy Lévesque (Ste. Anne), Jean Balcaen (Richer), Roy Enns (Steinbach), Susan Hart-Kulbaba (Buffalo Point), Line Leclerc (La Broquerie), Ron Tardiff (Lorette), Leo Van Den Bussche (St. Adolphe), Armande LeClair (Letellier) and Guy Gagnon (Ste. Agathe).
"We are continuing to move forward with focusing on what matters most to Manitobans and, with five regional health authorities rather than 11, the administrative savings will be reinvested into supporting front-line care," Oswald said in a prepared statement.
Earlier this year, the Selinger government announced it was reducing the number of RHAs from 11 to five as a budgetary measure. As the new and larger authorities came together they were overseen by temporary boards, which selected their respective chief executive officers.
South RHA chose Kathy McPhail, who was the CEO for the Central RHA.
All of the board appointees, the health minister said, were members of the previous board.
"The new boards now in place for regional health authorities have been selected to ensure an appropriate balance of skills, experience, diversity and geographic representation, and will focus on ensuring a smooth transition by streamlining the merged corporate operations while avoiding disruptions to front-line care," Oswald said.