Priority 1: Healthcare decision-making
ISSUE: How can Manitoba Health and the RHAs benefit from existing community-based networks and knowledge to support and facilitate policies related to advancing knowledge-exchange, quality improvement, and scale-up of local innovations?
The provincial government of Manitoba is required to make good decisions related to the health of the provincial populous. As such, it relies on key organizations and individuals to advise on health- and healthcare-related issues. Because the CHC model harnesses ideas and energy from community residents and a vast array of healthcare and social service professionals, CHCs come to the table with:
- a client centred perspective
- a health equity lens
- an awareness of cross-sectoral priorities for health
- access to primary health care networks that may not be currently represented in decision-making.
Adding this depth of knowledge and experience to decision-making and advisory bodies in Manitoba can help to unburden government and ensure transparency and accountability for services that are being funded and provided.
Including CHCs in discussions around changes to primary care would acknowledge that the existing gaps within the health sector are often linked to broader issues and complex questions. Community health and social support organizations have established relationships of trust with the communities that we serve. This provides CHCs with a depth of understanding and systemic knowledge of required services and gaps. This is especially true with marginalized communities and individuals with complex-care needs. Underlying much of CHCs’ work is the innate understanding of how inequities affect health. For example, marginalized clients that fall through cracks in the health system can become high and repeat consumers of emergency departments.
Current relationships could be further strengthened by working together to develop service purchase agreements that include deliverables related to broader priorities. There are many opportunities to grow this relationship by working together to identify gaps and further promote health equity. The expertise of CHCs in interdisciplinary care will help to move provincial health systems toward sustainability. The existing Community Health Agency Network is an ideal forum for consensus building and discussing Primary Care issues and initiatives at all organizations, which we believe could be further formalized and supported.
Hospitals, long-term care facilities, individual physicians and nurses, and other sectors within the health system participate in such activities via their sector-specific or profession-specific associations. In fact, they are often mandated and financially-supported to do so. By not including CHCs in these important conversations, an opportunity for quality improvement in healthcare for Manitobans is missed and perpetuates an inequitable double-standard within the health system.
Partner with the Manitoba Association of Community Health and other relevant stakeholders to establish a primary care council, at which key contributors assist with system transformation and responsiveness.
Work together to develop robust and mutual accountability agreements and to streamline funding from different levels of government, similar to the successful Red Tape initiative through the Province of Manitoba.