IERHA holds annual general meeting in St. Laurent

Lake Manitoba Physician Outreach Clinic was one of the first two recipients of the Patient Centred Care Award at the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority's annual general meeting in St. Laurent, Man. on Oct. 3, 2019. Left to right: Dr. Ayman Soliman, Lori Wahoski, Jennifer Maytwaywashing and IERHA CEO Ron Van Denakker. (Photo submitted: Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority)

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St. Laurent’s École communautaire Aurèle-Lemoine saw just over 100 people for Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority’s annual general meeting that took place on Oct. 3.

Vice chair of the board of directors, Oral Johnston was the master of ceremonies. The meeting opened with a presentation from Shared Health on health system transformation, followed by an opportunity to ask questions to Dr. Brock Wright, Shared Health Manitoba’s CEO and provincial lead on health services and Ian Shaw, transformation management lead. They addressed questions from the public about emergency department wait times, inter-hospital transfers, home care and long term care beds. Members of the public took the opportunity to share their own health-care experiences living in Interlake-Eastern RHA.

Chair of the Interlake-Eastern RHA Board of Directors, Margaret Mills, took the opportunity to highlight the RHA’s work with community groups, local health involvement groups and give thanks to the RHA’s volunteers, elected representatives and staff. In the board report, Mills highlighted the contributions from the region towards health system transformation.

“From this region, our directors, staff, physicians and community members have all had opportunities to participate in consultations with representatives from Shared Health and the Transformation Management Office,” Mills said. “This region has taken advantage of opportunities to share our perspectives and to participate in the planning of health system transformation.”

Interlake-Eastern’s CEO, Ron Van Denakker, focused on the RHA’s efforts for health system sustainability, including the fact that the RHA operates within a balanced budget. He highlighted efforts to enhance primary health care, improve access to emergency services and continue health care recruitment iniatives including the physician residency program that was announced last winter. As well, he outlined areas in mental health and addictions where the region is increasing access such as the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinic and Rapid Access to Brief Treatment for those needing access to addictions and mental health support and treatment.

Throughout the evening, the cultural, geographical and health inequities of Indigenous residents of the region was brought to light and discussed in great detail. Despite the best efforts of staff of Interlake-Eastern RHA, Van Denakker pointed out that there is still room for improvement.

“Indigenous people in this region represent just over 27 per cent of our population, meaning roughly one-third of the people we work with are subject to significant inequalities in care,” Denakker said, “We have to do better.”

Representatives from Pinaymootang Health Centre in Fairford attended the meeting to identify the challenges they have experienced accessing care in the health care system.

Acknowledging that work must continue to ensure equitable health care for all residents, Mills recognized three staff members who were recipients of the Chair’s Award for Excellence in Customer Services: Brenda Chapman, a home care scheduling clerk in Gimli; Melanie Ilagan, a ward clerk at Pinawa Hospital and Catherine Johnson, a public health nurse in Lundar. They were all nominated by colleagues who identified them as going above and beyond to reflect the RHA’s values in their daily interactions with staff and clients.

This was the first year Interlake-Eastern RHA presented the Health Innovation Award for Patient Experience and two projects were identified as winners. The first is the physician outreach clinic that is offered in conjunction with Lake Manitoba First Nation in their health centre.

This clinic sees Dr. Soliman offering appointments closer to home for residents of the community.

Offering care in the community reduces the number of missed appointments because no transportation is required. People can walk to their health centre. In the past these patients had to rely on the medical van to transport them to their appointment.  Now, patients are able to receive care in a culturally sensitive and familiar environment in their own community.

The second recipient of an award was the group responsible for the development and maintenance of IERHA’s mental health web pages. “Care in Your Community” and “Mental Health” are the most visited web pages on www.ierha.ca after the Careers page.

The pages were reviewed and endorsed by the recovery champions committee made up of community members with lived experience and family members, as well as many partner service providers.  Access to mental health services is improved when individuals and families can be directed to a trusted website where they can find multiple avenues of care provision, from program/service information to active links and apps for service provision.

The recipient of the CEO’s award for community leadership was awarded to the Selkirk Rotary Club for their generous donation, through their “Project Echo” fundraising campaign, for echocardiography to be offered at Selkirk Regional Health Centre. Echocardiography is a test that uses sound waves to produce live images of a heart. Van Denakker identified that Selkirk Rotary discovered that over 3,000 residents in the region are in need of an echocardiogram in any given year and the wait time can be at least one year.  Through donations from individuals, grants from various foundations within the IERHA region, funds from RMs and towns, Hutterite Colonies and two very successful Lobsterfests, The Selkirk Rotary Club raised $187,000 within 15 months. Then Selkirk’s Ladies Auxiliary donated a cheque in the amount of $25,000.

At the end of June 2019, Project Echo declared its own fundraising complete with a final amount, after expenses, of $203,000 donated.

Interlake-Eastern’s 2018-19 annual report is now posted online at www.ierha.ca under “About us” and “Publications and Reports” and available in hard copy at the RHA’s corporate office, 233A Main Street in Selkirk.

— Submitted by Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority for Interlake Publishing

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