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April 16, 2008
New model for health authority governance within two months
Edmonton … The Alberta government will take action on a wide range of initiatives aimed at system reform to improve access to health services and make the province’s health care system more efficient and effective.The plan identifies initiatives to improve health system governance and accountability, expand health workforce recruitment, manage health services to better meet patient needs, promote healthy and safe communities and introduce new technologies for Albertans to access and understand the health system over the next nine months.
“Alberta has a good public health system that needs to be made more accessible,” said Ron Liepert, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We’ve set out an ambitious plan to make the necessary decisions and changes to build a better health care system that will be there for people when they need it.”
By June 15, a decision will be made on a new governance model for regional health authorities and health boards. A decision will also be made on managing ground emergency medical services in the province.
“Our top priority is to improve accessibility and the future sustainability of the health system,” said Liepert. “Our new direction will build on the Mazankowski report in 2001 and all other reports and studies done by government. Also important to the work we do is building on policies from the 2006 Health Policy Framework – Getting on with Better Health Care. The outcome of the plan is a sustainable, effective and efficient health system that provides quality patient-focused care to Albertans.”
The plan calls for immediate actions in the following areas:
• Mandatory accreditation and reporting for all Alberta health service providers and facilities.
• Monitoring for compliance with province-wide infection prevention and control standards.
• Address workforce-related issues and support for continuing care.
• Expand educational spaces for physicians, registered nurses and laboratory and respiratory therapists.
• Develop a patient navigator system to improve access to health services and continuity of care.
• Expand the role of pharmacists in preventing and managing chronic diseases.
• Expand addiction and mental health services.
• Expand initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent disease.
“We have spent a lot of time talking about the issues facing the system, performing studies and analyzing options for change,” said Liepert. “Now it’s time to make those tough decisions and implement the strategies that will result in a better health care system for Albertans. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us but our goal of developing a health system to meet our needs a decade from now is achievable.”
Specific action plan initiatives will be announced over the next three months (on or before June 15), six months (on or before Sept. 15) and nine months (on or before Dec. 15). Funding and legislative changes for action plan initiatives will be outlined in the 2009/10 provincial budget and the 2009 spring session of the Alberta Legislative Assembly.
>BACKGROUNDER on timelines and current initiatives attached.
Media enquiries north of Red Deer may be directed to:
Shannon Haggarty, Communications, Alberta Health and Wellness, 780-427-7164, or
Media enquiries in Red Deer and south may be directed to:
Howard May, Communications, Alberta Health and Wellness, 403-949-5011
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