SEICC: Health region to do needs study

October 2, 2012 11:03 am
Kevin Weedmark

The Regina Qu'Appelle
Health Region will conduct a needs assessment to determine if the health needs of the Moosomin area are being met or if changes to facilities or services are needed.

The board met with the Moosomin and District Health Care Foundation Wednesday to hear the health care foundation's arguments that a needs assesment is warranted.

Regina-Qu'Appelle Health Region CEO Dwight Nelson told the World-Spectator Thursday that the region will move forward with a needs assessment.

"Their bottom line request was to say we think it's time for a needs assesment, and I completely agree," Nelson said. "I will ask my staff to come up with the who, the what, and the when to do an assessment. I will ask our folks to bring forward a detailed proposal."

He said that population growth in the area and the growing importance of Moosomin as a centre of medical care both support a needs assessment.

"There are two things that support the idea of a needs assessment - the growth going on in your area for one thing, and secondly because of the medical staff situation you are providing services to quite a range outside of Moosomin."

Nelson said the needs assessment could get under way in the fall and will take four to six
months to complete.

"I'll ask our folks to put something together, and I hope we can start the assessment
process in early fall," he said.

"If we really do one of these assessments thoughtfully, we have to look at data regarding
population, we have to have focus groups in Moosomin and surrounding communities. Most times we would hold one or two community forums so people can raise concerns or suggestions."

He cautioned that people shouldn't prejudge what the needs assessment may determine. "It
might lead to more beds, or it might lead to saying we need more home care," he said. "We don't want to start from the assumption that the answer is more beds. That may be part of the solution, but often needs assessments lead to other solutions as well."

Nelson said the assessment will take into account the larger area served by Moosomin since other health facilities have limited services.

"It's crystal balling into the future, but you already see where people come into Moosomin for medical services, and where you've got a core of good medical expertise and a good facility it makes sense to build it up knowing that other communities will continue to
go there."

If the needs assessment does show a need for additional beds, the proposal would go to the

"If it shows need for new beds, we would make a submission to the provincial government for those beds. We would have to have the provincial government's approval as they're the funding partner."

Nelson said he was impressed by the presentation by the health care foundation, and thought the meeting was productive.

"I thought it went very, very well," he said. "There was some good discussion back and forth. The members of the health care foundation are really good community leaders. They are connected to
their communities."

He said he is impressed by the work of the Moosomin and District Health Care Foundation.

"The foundation has raised in total $13 million over the years and that's remarkable for the population," he said.

"I've said to people in Regina that if they supported health care proportionally the way Moosomin does, it would be amazing."

Nelson said the issue of designating the Southeast Integrated Care Centre a regional hospital is a matter for the provincial government, not the health board.

"That particular designation isn't a regional designation-the provincial government determines that. They would want to have a look at the information-is this now or likely turning into a regional facility? That would be the next step assuming the growth continues and the range of services continues to grow."

If Moosomin's facility is designated a regional hospital, the health care system will cover the cost of 24-hour physician coverage at the facility.

Currently, physicians are on call to provide coverage for the facility