This is page numbers 4463 - 4502 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 4th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was health.

Topics

Question 389-16(4): Relationship Between The Minister And Authorities
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Again for the record, our objective of health care is not about maintaining and operating a facility. Our objective of health care is to make sure that every resident in the Northwest Territories has access to the health care they need and the health and social services care. Now, we understand that may require and does require patients to travel to services when it’s required. For example, doctors or specialists and sometimes special nursing services. Sometimes it requires the health care staff to travel to the communities. I think when we’re talking about the essential health care

services that we need to provide, we’re talking about making sure that every one of our residents, no matter where they are, that they have access to care. It’s not about operating a facility. It’s about making sure they have care. In Tsiigehtchic they have had nursing services for 89 days last year and that comes to at least -- I don’t want to screw up my math -- four and a half months.

Question 389-16(4): Relationship Between The Minister And Authorities
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Final supplementary, Mr. Krutko.

Question 389-16(4): Relationship Between The Minister And Authorities
Oral Questions

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Mr. Speaker, I’m not too sure what it’s going to take to get through to this Minister that we’re asking for full-time positions for those communities that have the facilities are requesting the program to be delivered with full-time staff. When can we see a full-time position reinstated in Tsiigehtchic using the Minister’s powers, if she has any, to get that position filled so that we can have nurses in Wrigley, Tsiigehtchic and other communities of similar size so that they’re treated no differently than Yellowknife where you’re developing a super clinic and all these things that you’re pushing for? Why don’t you find us a nurse for our communities? That’s all we’re asking for. Get it done.

Question 389-16(4): Relationship Between The Minister And Authorities
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories adopted an ISDM model back in 2003, and that was what had prompted withdrawal of full-time nurses in Wrigley and Tsiigehtchic. So it goes back to 2003. This is the delivery model that we are using. The Member knows that if we are going to change that, we could do that as a discussion in the House as a business plan, but, again, the Member needs to understand that our health care services are being provided by making sure that everybody has access to care. It’s not necessarily about what all the services are, because we know that we need to get the service wherever we can. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 389-16(4): Relationship Between The Minister And Authorities
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

February 24th, 2010

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions today are addressed to the Minister for Health and Social Services, and I have some further questions about the supplementary health benefit consultations programs. I discovered just within the last hour that it’s a bit of a moving target, this consultation paper that they have out there. I printed the document shortly before I came down to the House and went back up to check it again and discovered that the document had changed in the half an hour since I’d been down here. So I hope that it’s now finalized.

On page 14 or 15, depending upon which document you’re looking at, the department lists three things that need change, three statements, and I feel them to be fairly definitive. I’d like to know from the Minister how these three assumptions were determined. Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. The honourable Minister responsible for Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe the changes were made in consultation with a public working group. They had a meeting and they were quite pleased, actually, with the information that they received. They had some suggestions for change and that was incorporated and it was reinstated. I don’t have the document right in front of me so I don’t know exactly what assumptions and what page she’s referring to, but if she could specify that I’d be happy to answer them. Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

The three assumptions are: that all families should have a fair and equal access to Government of the Northwest Territories funded programs that assist with the cost of uninsured health services; that the structure of these programs can be confusing, this makes application for benefits or claims frustrating; a statement that we need a clear policy; a statement that we need a program that provides help to those who are most in need while maximizing our limited resources, and the assumption is that the uninsured health benefits are sustainable for the Government of the Northwest Territories without eroding other programs and services. Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

That reads to be like some of the observations that we are sharing with the public and looking for their input. The Member is right in that this is, I wouldn’t call it a moving target, but it is a living document, it is a live conversation we are having about the extended health benefits with the residents of the Northwest Territories.

In our last time out it was quite obvious that not just the NWT residents, but people across the country are not very clear about exactly what’s covered under the Canada Health Act, what’s covered as extended health benefits, what options are there for them to look at other alternatives about paying for their costs, what’s covered, what’s not, and who is eligible. It’s different in every province and territory. In the Territories, we have three different programs under extended health benefits, so the aim is to have a dialogue with our residents and come up with a more simple and transparent program and one Extended Health Benefits Program for those who are not eligible for NIHB or Metis health benefits. Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Then to the Minister: if these are observations, then I am a little bit concerned. These three things are prefaced by a statement which

says there are a number of things we need to change about uninsured health benefits. That doesn’t sound much like an observation to me. If the Minister feels that these are observations and if these are, indeed, observations, I’d like to ask the Minister, is there an opportunity during the consultation process, which is going to go on or is going on and has just started, is there an opportunity to amend these observations, as she calls them, modify them, add to them, delete them? Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Yes, the public has the opportunity in their town hall meetings to challenge the observations, facts, data, and they could suggest their own solutions about what we should do with the information we have. I think it’s really important for people to have a productive, and to be engaged in, conversation. They need to have lots of information. So we are looking forward to getting the feedback from the people about the information that we have there, what suggestions they may have and what additions they could add. That’s exactly what the public working group has done so far, and we look forward to hearing from the committee also. Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Your final supplementary, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

I can assure the Minister that she will hear from the committee, I am positive of that.

To the questions that are a part of the document, I’m very glad to see that the questions are there. We could argue about the content of the questions for quite some time so I’m going to leave that, but I am a little concerned that the questions don’t leave it open for changes to the observations. So I would hope that anybody listening to the Minister takes her point that all of this is possible and any comments will be accepted.

I’d like to ask the Minister, the questions and this document that’s out there for discussion, I’d like to know from the Minister how it will be distributed to generate the largest number of respondents and to get the greatest feedback. Thank you.

Question 390-16(4): Consultation Process For Supplementary Health Benefits Policy
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make it clear, because I think that going back and forth questions may sound like, you know, we are in any way not open to receiving anything. We are open to hearing from the committee members, public, any interested organization, feedback to that discussion paper and the questions we have and in whatever format they want to do.

Secondly, we are going to -- now that the final document is on and because it went through some changes -- be distributing them as widely as possible. We’re going to put them on the website; we are communicating with the regional health authorities so that they can give it out to regions and communities; we are distributing to NGOs; we

will have them in government offices; we will have them on cable TV, radio, everywhere, because we do want to have a dialogue with our residents about this program. Thank you.