Change Will Reduce Administration While Improving Co-ordination of Health Services
Today, Health Minister Jim Reiter accepted all of the recommendations of the Saskatchewan Advisory Panel on Health System Structure, and announced the province will consolidate the 12 existing Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) into one single Provincial Health Authority.
“One Provincial Health Authority that is focussed on better co-ordination of health services across the province will improve the quality of care patients receive,” Reiter said. “It will also reduce administration and duplication across the health system.
“This change represents a consolidation of administration, not a centralization of services. Our government remains committed to providing high-quality health services in every part of the province. Our goal is better co-ordination between the health services provided in different areas of the province.”
Along with the recommendation to move to a single Provincial Health Authority, the Advisory Panel recommends the appointment of a single Board of Directors to govern the new Authority. The report also recommends system-wide improvements that include consolidation of health system administrative support functions and some clinical services such as laboratory and diagnostic imaging, and the planning, dispatch and delivery of Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
“We recognize the changes we are recommending are significant,” Advisory Panel member Dr. Dennis Kendel said. “The Advisory Panel encourages the provincial government and senior leaders within the health system to take the time required to ensure a smooth transition.”
This is a significant change, and it will take time to create a new Provincial Health Authority. Work on implementation planning has already begun at the Ministry of Health. A comprehensive plan is being developed that will work through critical implementation details, including legislation, governance, financial and change management considerations. While the date the new Provincial Health Authority will come into being is still to be determined, it is anticipated to occur in fall 2017.
“We want to do this quickly, but it is important to do this right,” Reiter said. “The priority will be planning for a smooth transition and ensuring patients are always the focus. Throughout the transition to the new Provincial Health Authority, our number one goal will be to ensure patients receive the same or better care.
“I thank the Advisory Panel for its thoughtful report,” Reiter said. “I am confident that implementing these recommendations will result in the most effective and efficient health care structure for Saskatchewan.”
Optimizing and Integrating Patient-Centred Care: Saskatchewan Advisory Panel on Health System Structure is available online at www.saskatchewan.ca.