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The Regional Health Authority Amendment Act
(Health System Governance and Accountability)

The Manitoba government has introduced amendments to The Regional Health Authorities Act and other legislation to support the successful implementation of the province’s health system transformation.

The proposed Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act (Health System Governance and Accountability) will amend The Regional Health Authorities Act and other legislation and provide the necessary legislative framework to support health system transformation.

The legislation will also ensure the efforts of organizations within the health system, including Manitoba’s regional health authorities, Shared Health, CancerCare Manitoba and other organizations involved in the delivery and administration of health care are aligned and integrated with the goals of the transformation.

The bill will change the name of The Regional Health Authorities Act to The Health System Governance and Accountability Act.

In addition, it will amend the act to include Shared Health as a provincial health authority and will set out the organization’s responsibilities, duties and authority, including:

  • the development and regular updating of a provincial clinical and preventive services plan for service delivery across the health system;
  • the development of a provincial health human resources plan and a provincial health capital plan;
  • the provision of administrative and clinical support services to regional health authorities and other service delivery organizations; 
  • the delivery of provincial health services; and,
  • the development and regular updating of clinical standards for the delivery of health services to provide consistent standards across the system.

Efforts throughout Wave One of Manitoba’s Health System Transformation are fundamental to the implementation of improved strategic planning, delivery and measurement of health services across the province. As Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living shifts to a focus on policy, planning, funding and oversight, the legislation will support the shift of remaining health-care delivery services out of government, while defining the mandate of Shared Health and confirming the continued role of the regional health authorities and CancerCare Manitoba in the delivery of frontline health-care services.

A number of existing organizations, departments, programs, services and sites will transition to Shared Health as part of the transformation process. These transitions begin with Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg, Digital Health, provincial Diagnostic Services, WRHA Mental Health Program Services, Regional Emergency Medical Services and Patient Transport as well as a number of WRHA corporate and administrative departments in April 2019.

The proposed legislation will make Shared Health a provincial health authority under the Act and set out the organization’s responsibilities, duty and authority to lead provincial planning and the integration of clinical and preventive services and provide coordinated support to regional health authorities and other health service delivery organizations. It will also support future transitions to Shared Health involving Selkirk Mental Health Centre and will transfer the operations of Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) to Shared Health as an integrated provincial mental health and addictions system is developed in line with recommendations made in The VIRGO report.

The transition of operation of Selkirk Mental Health Centre is planned for Wave Two of the transformation, anticipated to occur within the next two to three years. The operations of AFM will not transfer to Shared Health before the proclamation of the Bill in order to allow changes to occur in an orderly and carefully sequenced way, aligned with the detailed planning of a provincial mental health and addictions system, primarily within Shared Health.

The amendments will also designate CancerCare Manitoba as Manitoba’s cancer authority with responsibilities, duties and authority under the act. The organization will continue to deliver vital health services to Manitobans and will be further integrated into the health system governance structure through these proposed changes.

Other changes in the proposed legislation include:

  • creating a robust accountability framework for all health authorities that identifies services, funding and performance measures;
  • enabling the standardization of service purchase agreements to ensure consistency across the health care system;
  • repealing The Hospitals Act;
  • enabling a health-care organization or health corporation to voluntarily enter into an agreement to transfer all or part of its operations, property, rights, liabilities and obligations to a health authority;
  • enabling government to transfer provincial responsibilities relating to the delivery of health services to a health authority and to transfer operations, activities and property from one health authority to another if necessary; and
  • amending The Health Services Insurance Act to clarify the authority of government to audit fee-for-service billing by physicians and other health practitioners and the authority to recover overpayments identified through audits.

Manitoba’s Health System Transformation is rooted in a system-wide acknowledgment that we need to improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of the health-care services we provide to Manitobans. The bill was developed based on the transformation blueprint and aligns with key recommendations made in previous studies of Manitoba’s health system, including the Provincial Clinical and Preventive Services Planning for Manitoba report (also known as the Peachey Report), the Health System Sustainability and Innovation Review, the Wait Times Reduction Task Force report and the Improving Access and Coordination of Mental Health and Addictions Services: A Provincial Strategy for all Manitobans report (also known as the VIRGO report).

The proposed legislation will support efforts to reduce the complexity of Manitoba’s health system and to improve the consistency and availability of services in a sustainable way. As with the transitions being undertaken in April, changes contemplated in this bill, if passed, will be carefully planned and sequenced to be as seamless, simple and non-disruptive as possible so that staff can continue to focus on patient care.

Key stakeholders, including Shared Health, CancerCare Manitoba and regional health authorities, were consulted in the development of the blueprint. Public consultations are also part of the legislative process. Visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/business/bills.html for more information.

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