Under The Dome
Several items have hit the news over the past six weeks that have prompted several calls or emails to my office and comment on social media.
I would like to set the record straight with the facts and my take on these issues as your Member of the Legislative Assembly for Riding Mountain.
Wait Times Reduction Task Force recommendations
Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen released the results of this task force – which made a stop in Hamiota last spring – on Dec. 20.
The report didn’t recommend specific changes to rural health care facilities, but concluded that it is not reasonable for rural residents to have to memorize the hours of emergency departments in facilities that are not open 24/7 or are subject to inconsistent service.
Rural residents are well aware of the changes our government has made in Winnipeg to address wait times and provide better health care service to citizens. Of course, this has met with considerable opposition by health care unions, which in turn has created a lot of misinformation.
As your MLA, I know that our government needs to insure 24/7 emergency rooms are available within a reasonable distance. I also know that many communities would benefit from “urgent care centres” at their facilities, which could be open consistent hours.
Times have changed, and our government recognizes that. Change is not easy, but with the absence of change there can be no progress.
My promise is to keep my constituents informed of any changes planned for the betterment of health care in Riding Mountain as decisions are made.
Pharmaceutical contract for Personal Care Homes
Regional Health Authorities issued a request for proposals (RFP) last summer for the provision of pharmacy services for participating personal care homes (PCH). This RFP was open to all pharmacies in Manitoba, many of whom had an agreement with Manitoba Health to supply PCHs.
The results of that RFP were announced earlier this month and MediSystem Pharmacy Manitoba won the contract for all health regions in Manitoba, except for the city of Flin Flon.
The change is to take effect on April 1, but a phased-in approach over a six-month period may happen in some areas to insure a safe and seamless transition.
There is no reason to believe that the high quality pharmaceutical services, provided in most cases by pharmacies where the PCHs are located, will not continue by the successful bidder.
I am certainly of two minds on this.
As a rural resident, I understand that any reduction in support for local businesses has an effect on that business and a ripple effect throughout a community.
However, I also believe that reducing costs where possible is necessary to keep our health care system sustainable now and into the future.
I wish to personally thank all the pharmacists in the Riding Mountain constituency for the services they have provided to PCHs and for the day-to-care concern they have for their patients. Our government will continue to work with Manitoba pharmacists to leverage all that they can contribute to a co-ordinated approach to health care.
Manitoba Community Services Council – This entity was informed in January that its administrative funding would be cut for the 2018-19 fiscal year, and that the grants they administered would now be done by the province.
MCSC is well-known amongst organizations in rural Manitoba for the grants they provided. What doesn’t seem to be well known is that the money MCSC granted was taxpayer dollars.
As your government we want to make sure every dollar we spend goes to the important work of grassroots community organizations rather than paying for the duplication of services.
That means focusing resources on front line community services and reducing administration costs and duplication to insure hard-earned tax dollars are used to their full potential.
The bottom line is that yes, MCSC will receive less administrative funding, but the grant money that it administered will continue to flow to community organizations who depend on it.
That’s why we have created a single window for community organizations and municipalities to apply for grants, rather than having them go through a middleman,
Grants to community organizations are a priority and will continue to receive funding, as we saw with the recent announcement of $1.4 million for projects, $1.8 million in Community Places grants in December, and $700,000 in provincial funding to support the purchase of 27 new handi-vans for communities last year.
As your MLA, that’s what I want to see your hard-earned tax dollars spent on.
Greg Nesbitt is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Riding Mountain. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, 1-844-877-7767 or by email at email@example.com.