Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen is preparing for a very busy start to 2017. The Health Minister says, as the Progressive Conservative government moves towards its second year in office, he will receive a major piece of input that will guide the future of health care. It involves a report by KPMG, which was hired to evaluate the overall health care system to look for improvements and efficiencies. Goertzen says it is important to have an outside agency step back and take an objective look at things.
"Government can be a bit like a house. You start off with it looking one way and then you add on a room and then you add on something else and you continue to add things on and it looks quite different, after a number of years, than when you started. Government is not completely different that way. Things get added on and sometimes it's good to step back and ask: Is that really how we would align the system or do a health care system if we were starting from scratch? So I think KPMG will come back with some good suggestions."
Goertzen adds he will also have to work through $1.6 billion in NDP promises for capital projects in health care.
"The challenge is they didn't leave $1.6 billion (to pay for them). In many cases, they didn't even bring the commitments to Treasury Board. They never had any proper government approval. So those $1.6 billion of promises need to be reconciled in some way."
Thirdly, Goertzen expects to receive a report shortly on the feasibility of self-regulation for paramedics to improve accountability, similar to systems already in place for doctors and nurses. That report is being prepared by Reg Toews of Steinbach and Goertzen says he looks forward to the findings.