Saskatchewan Learning from Alaska’s Health Successes

News Release – February 3, 2011

Saskatchewan is looking for new ways to deliver primary health care, in preparation for another major initiative arising from the Patient First Review.

A provincial delegation will attend a study tour of Southcentral Foundation (SCF), a Native-owned, non-profit health care organization based in Anchorage, Alaska that serves a widely-dispersed urban and rural population. The Saskatchewan delegation includes health region representatives from across the province, the Health Quality Council, the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) and the Ministry of Health.”To truly put our patients first, we need to coordinate services more effectively and safely, and make sure patients are the central focus of everything we do,” Health Minister Don McMorris said. “This on-site tour will give our health sector leaders a firsthand look at a system known for its creative approach and customer/patient focus, and facilitate our planning process.”

Health Quality Council Chair Marlene Smadu said Saskatchewan’s health care system shares much in common with Southcentral Foundation.

“Like us, they serve a vast area, and face challenges in recruiting and retaining providers to deliver care in rural and remote regions,” Smadu said. “What’s inspiring and what we hope to learn more about is how they continually seek input from their citizens – who they call their customer/owners – to ensure they provide high quality, accessible, cost-effective health services.”

“This is a great opportunity for Saskatchewan to benefit from experiences and successes in Alaska,” SUMA Vice-President for Towns Mayor Roland Zimmer, who will participate in the study tour said. “We all have a stake in developing health services that reflect our changing demographics and population distribution, and that serve the needs of people in all areas of the province.”

“Access to health services is a huge issue for residents of rural Saskatchewan, and we are very pleased to be involved in planning for enhancements to these services and finding solutions to the challenges we face,” SARM President David Marit said.

Information gathered during the tour will be used to further work in delivering patient- and family-centred primary health care in the province to ensure Saskatchewan people receive timely, accessible day to day health services.


For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: [email protected]
Cell: 306-537-3594

Greg Basky
Health Quality Council
Phone: 306-668-8814
Email: [email protected]

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