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Saskatchewan Sees New Ideas at Work in Alaska

News Release – February 18, 2011

Collaborative Approaches Key in Rural Primary Health Care Delivery

A delegation of health and municipal leaders has returned from Alaska with new ideas for improving delivery of primary health care services for Saskatchewan residents.The study tour of Anchorage, Alaska’s Southcentral Foundation (SCF) was arranged in preparation for improvements to primary health care prompted by Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review. SCF is a Native-owned, non-profit health care organization that serves a widely-dispersed urban and rural population using innovative, collaborative approaches.

“Saskatchewan is seeking out the best ideas and solutions to adapt in this province to benefit our patients,” Health Minister Don McMorris said. “It was a privilege to learn from this high-performing health system, which faces many of the issues we face in Saskatchewan. It has a similarly dispersed population and the same challenges recruiting and keeping health professionals.”

The group included about 30 representatives from health regions, the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Ministry of Health and the Health Quality Council.

“Southcentral’s clarity of vision in keeping patient interests at the centre, while striving for continuous quality improvement in a collaborative and supportive team setting is very impressive,” SMA Director of Professional Affairs Dr. Brian Geller said. “By defining their goals, making adjustments to their resources when necessary, and through a lot of focused hard work by the people involved they have been able to create efficient primary health care teams working harmoniously to improve patient access and care. Patients, health care workers and communities all benefit as a result.”

“We look forward to actively involving our communities in planning for future delivery of health services to rural residents,” SARM President David Marit said. “This may be an opportunity to have a positive and lasting effect on the future of health care in rural Saskatchewan.”

“This study tour showed us many potential new opportunities to improve health care in Saskatchewan,” SUMA Vice-President for Towns Mayor Roland Zimmer said. “We have a great deal to gain by partnering with health regions and the province to solve the challenges residents face.”

The health system and community leaders who attended the study tour will work together on a plan to strengthen primary health care services in Saskatchewan, and find ways to meet the distinct needs of rural, First Nations, Métis, Northern and urban residents.

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For more information, contact:

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