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HSS spokesperson Pat Living and HSS Minister Pauline Frost

Changes for health coming ahead of review: YG

Improvements coming down the pike and pointed to by an internal team of existing Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) workers were made public Thursday – despite YG saying it would likely do so by the end of April.

By Palak Mangat on May 9, 2019

Improvements coming down the pike and pointed to by an internal team of existing Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) workers were made public Thursday – despite YG saying it would likely do so by the end of April.

Fourteen efficiencies were identified by the so-called tiger team, which was made up of internal employees whose work preceded the independent expert panel’s, in the first phase of the overarching health care review.

That tiger team’s work wrapped up in late-January and began after YG set parameters for the panel tasked with the overall review late last year.

That means the results of the first phase of the review (that was internal) are now being shared today, more than three months after the tiger team wrapped up its work.

As per the April 16 Star, that panel has now set its own terms of reference that detail what exactly it will be looking at.

But among the changes that HSS will be taking action on internally include those around social assistance payments, electronic drug prescriptions and communication between pharmacies and a prescriber, an online navigator to point Yukoners in the right direction when seeking help and “more flexible staffing.”

A release issued Thursday provides more detail into the 14 listed improvements:

• HSS will deposit social assistance payments directly into clients’ bank accounts;

• a centralized directory;

• sending prescriptions between a prescriber and the client’s pharmacy of choice will be done electronically;

• spending on mobile devices HSS buys has been cut in favour of corporate mobile devices;

• staffing model changes for a clinical psychologist will see the position work across divisions to support programs and reduce YG’s dependence on external contracts or medical travel

• restructure the responsibilities of some roles to make use of technology where possible and avoid paper processes;

• social assistance rules will be updated to see electronic funds transfer and direct deposit “within the next year;”

• flexible staffing models;

• align health care cards and driver’s licences;

• new ways for continuing care residents to pay their fees;

• ensure all privacy impact assessments are done and reviewed in a consistent manner before leaving HSS to ensure they meet policy and legal obligations;

• policy changes to help those transitioning off social assistance by offering transitional benefits to more clients;

• speak with the Yukon Hospital Corp. about pension solvency; and

• review how HSS buys things like equipment for all divisions and the Yukon Hospital Corp. with an eye of cost savings.

“They (tiger team) said we can see these changes making a difference and the department is implementing them,” HSS spokesperson Pat Living said Thursday.

“These improvements are in various stages of planning and implementation and Yukoners will hear more about them in the coming months,” HSS Minister Pauline Frost added in a statement.

While these 14 look at fixes within the department, the overarching review could encompass other areas of government, meaning HSS would not be the only one responsive to the recommendations brought forward to YG from the independent expert panel.

That panel is to give draft recommendations to YG by December 2019 and final recommendations by March 2020.

Living added that some of the changes, including the health card and driver’s licences , could take “a couple of years” as it requires “significant pieces of work.”

Meanwhile, the department was unable to confirm exactly when the results of the NGO review will be made public.

HSS had previously told reporters in mid-April the results of the NGO review were internal and “there’s nothing to be made public about that.”

But that decision was shortly overturned in the house fewer than 10 days later, when the Liberals committed to making them available.

Comments (6)

Up 7 Down 0

Mike on May 14, 2019 at 9:28 am

This Liberal government has gone out of their way to ignore issues that we face. This proposal misses the mark to the bigger issues. I have asked to meet with Ms.Frost and Mr.Silver since they came to power to address a severe adverse drug reaction at 45 that left me in a severe bedridden state of poly pharmaceutical dementia with sensory overload so bad it was like Autism. Ignored and dismissed their whole time in power. Adr's are the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and estimated to injure a million Canadians a year. ADRCANADA.ORG
When the government leaders ignore you, directors do not pass off failures to their leaders, the medical council refuses to discuss adverse drug reactions with patients or government, the pharmaceutical council refuses to discuss with anyone, we have no advocate to improve patient care. When the media refuses to do a story on this policy failure they have failed us and is likely why they need to be bailed out with funding, maybe just provide unbiased news...
Five and a half years after becoming chemically obliterated while doctors only reach for more drugs, there is still no options or help offered. I am very close to an extended care facility and there are no tax breaks to keep us at home. We are allowed roughly $1500.00 a year and once we are put into an extended care facility it is costing between $600,000 and $800,000 dollars a year per person. The system is collapsing and our leaders go out of their way to ignore the issues.
Scott Kent has stepped up for patients with a motion to start the discussion on adverse drug reactions. It is a good start but government is unable to address any emergency in a timely manner. At least the discussion may be started. You have to wonder why this injury was not considered when pharmaceuticals were first brought into action? Seems like no risk assessment was involved in there only approach to healthcare. How has this injury been ignored and dismissed for so long? Then look at how the patients are treated. Extorted, manipulated and dismissed.
Doctors reach for more toxins for a toxic injury and when you question them they turn on you and question your mental health for questioning them. They could look at the data but it is more important to retain control. I have only improved since leaving the healthcare system. For the first three years the disconnect was all too real and how the government went out of their way to ignore is telling to the issues that are never addressed. When you become obliterated and ask for help the Libs went out of their way to ignore me and the undisputed injury. Government is not the organization to keep patients safe when they go out of their way to protect their failures.
To all the leaders, media and others that are continually virtue signalling, maybe try walking the walk. How hard would it be to have a discussion Ms.Frost?? How concerned are you when you send me to some advocate to address issues that you are in charge of? If you are not up to the job, step aside for someone that is interested in patient care and safety. The media could step up for patients and policy failure but journalistic integrity has been sold off for funding. You all talk the talk but it ends there.

Up 5 Down 1

Wilbur on May 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

I would like to lobby for no charge medical Cannibus be supplied (3&1/2 grams per day) for anyone on a fixed income such as Vets, people dealing with PTSD, MS, Parkinsons, Arthritis, Insomnia, Anxiety, Epilepsy, Krons, general joint and muscle pain due to age. This delivery of medication would get people off of harmful Nsaids and deadly opiods resulting in better for less.

Up 10 Down 1

Frank Michigan on May 11, 2019 at 12:25 pm

The medical travel here is broken. If gov is paying then pay rather than have your doctor request a person assist you on your trip out only to have another dr deny it because he/she thinks it's unnecessary which means they want to save money. Get some more staff so there is not such a long wait for CT scans and MRIs.

If you are feeling sick self diagnose because you can be prescribed with meds that are not right and which cause serious side effects.

Up 16 Down 0

Lost In the Yukon on May 9, 2019 at 9:10 pm

This is a joke ... Max Mack has it right. As an example the social assistance regulations already allow for transitional benefits. Current SA Management either don't know it's there or do and have not used it. Banks are reluctant to open accounts for SA clients so that will be an issue. The benefit is that they won't have clients coming in to get their cheques. Coming in to get the check was one of the more effective ways for a worker to physically see and meet with their clients. All this means is that the Manager won't have to rub up against the unwashed.
A better idea regarding SA clients and health care is to just transfer all health care services for SA clients to the health care side of the department. Eliminate a layer. What none of these changes address is the Management oversite of the program ... this is where it is breaking down. But as long as the Management of the program is charged with reviewing itself ... well you figure it out.

Up 14 Down 3

Juniper Jackson on May 9, 2019 at 7:57 pm

I was hoping to see things like.. if a specialist writes the prescription for chronic.. pay for the damn thing.. so many seniors paying for their drugs now or doing without and dying early..I was hoping to see $200. a day for medical travel. $75. second day doesn't even pay for taxi..but of course the only people who get those perks get them from SA and DIA... I was hoping to see changes that would impact a patient.. not too long ago a patient in YGH had a little fund raiser so she could take her baby with her on the medivac. Despicable that she couldn't take her baby with her...I wanted to see drug testing for SA.. the mines do it... all the tax payers that want to pay for someone elses drugs, cigarettes and booze..raise your hand.
I'd like to see easier programming for people looking for help... wait times are horrible... slightly off topic, but I would have liked to see Pauline Frost replaced, or perhaps the governing party just stay on holiday until the next election... I don't see much benefit in government employee's getting to tell clients and patients what will improve their lives. Is that.. flexible staffing hours.. hours. UNLESS yeah..the report isn't about health..as usual, it's about money and how not to spend it on taxpayers. Big whoop.

Up 17 Down 5

Max Mack on May 9, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Right off the bat I can see that this is not about efficiencies. Linking drivers licences and health cards together will be a costly exercise with limited payback. But, it's convenient for government.

Implementing electronic fund transfers will be another costly exercise. Perhaps clients will like it. Perhaps not. I suspect many HSS clients will not appreciate the change. Lots of money spent for little payback. Efficiencies are not there. So, who is this really for?

Pension solvency at Yukon Hospital? Why is that on the table?

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