Western Manitoba’s newly merged regional health authority may soon be called Prairie Mountain Health.
That’s the name that was approved by the RHA board at its first face-to-face meeting earlier this week. The board has made the recommendation to the province and it now needs to be approved by the health minister.
“The region is happy with it, but we have to ensure that the minister and cabinet are OK with it,” said RHA CEO Penny Gilson.
“The minister may have further direction, so we have to wait for that.”
The new region, which has been referred to as the Western RHA, encompasses the former Brandon, Parkland and Assiniboine RHAs.
As part of Manitoba’s 2012 budget, the province eliminated six of the 11 RHAs.
The plan is expected to save the province $10 million over the next three years.
A new Western RHA board of 15 members was appointed in June, which includes five members from each of the former RHAs. Former Brandon RHA board chair Marg MacDonald was appointed chair of the new board of directors.
Gilson said the first meeting went very well, and all but three members were in attendance.
“The initial board meeting was dealing primarily with getting their initial committees in place, dealing with some of those logistics … and trying to determine, given the geographic distance between board members … how they are going to manage their meetings,” Gilson said.
It’s expected that teleconferencing will likely be used to facilitate meetings over time.
The board also went through a detailed orientation of the new region.
“Members of the planning team presented a profile of the new region, so they’d have an idea of what some of the health status conditions are across the entire new region, the types of programs and services … and those types of things,” Gilson said.
One decision item on the agenda was dealing with the Melita ambulance service.
“It was a previously non-devolved service with the ARHA, and just prior to amalgamation they had requested to transfer operations to the RHA,” Gilson said.
“So we had worked through that over the summer, and a transfer agreement was put before the board … and so they did agree to accept transfer of those operations to the region.”
The executive management team spent three weeks touring the new region over the summer.
“There were 52 general staff meetings across the new region. We toured over 60 sites and programs, we had 12 community stakeholder meetings … so we spent a lot of time just trying to familiarize ourselves with the vastness of this new region,” Gilson said.
“That was invaluable for us. We learned a lot.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 30, 2012