Report from the Legislature – May 6, 2015

New “Hotspotting” Initiative Connects Patients to Care

Patients with complex medical needs in Saskatchewan will be better served thanks to a new health care initiative.  Connecting to Care uses an innovative, patient-centred care model that identifies patients with complex needs who repeatedly need hospital services or visit emergency departments.  A team of providers helps these patients receive alternative, more appropriate services in the community and follows up to ensure they are supported in improving their health.

This innovative pilot project will mean more coordinated, accessible and appropriate health services and fewer preventable visits to the hospital.  A Regina pilot project, which focuses on patients with chronic health conditions who have repeatedly been admitted to hospital for acute care, has enrolled 25 clients to date.  A second pilot project that is focused on patients with mental health and addictions issues is currently underway in Saskatoon.

Connecting to Care will support other provincial health care priorities, including the emergency department wait time project and the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.  It is expected that this will help to avoid preventable hospital admissions for patients and, over time, improve the sustainability of the Saskatchewan health care system by curbing health care costs.

New Public Health Information System Helps Provide Better Services

Patients and health providers are now benefitting from a new, electronic integrated public health information system.  Panorama allows public health care providers to manage vaccine inventories and immunizations, and enhances their ability to deliver services to residents.  The new system offers a series of enhancements that are directly benefitting patients.  For example, each person who receives public health services in Saskatchewan will now have a single, confidential client record, no matter where they receive those services in the province.

Introducing this modern system is part of our government’s ongoing efforts to deliver health services to our residents in a more efficient, streamlined and co-ordinated manner.  In the future, Panorama will have three additional modules: communicable disease investigations, communicable disease outbreaks, and family health.  When fully implemented, Panorama will replace two aging provincial public health systems, the Saskatchewan Immunization Management System and the integrated Public Health Information System.

Merchandise Exports Set Another Saskatchewan Record

Saskatchewan’s merchandise exports reached $3.1 billion in March (seasonally unadjusted), a 6.4 per cent increase year-over-year, and an all-time high for the month of March.  Merchandise exports were $8.7 billion for the first three months of 2015, up 10.6 per cent over last year.

The new merchandise exports record for March is further proof that our economy is strong and diversified.  Thanks to the hard work of Saskatchewan people, our economy continues to strengthen, as the global market recognizes that we have what the world needs.

Province Proclaims Women Entrepreneurs Week in Saskatchewan

Women entrepreneurs and the businesses they establish play a huge role in our communities; they bring innovative products and services to the market, generate revenue and create jobs.  May 4 to 10 has been proclaimed Women Entrepreneurs Week in Saskatchewan.

Thanks to organizations like Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, more women can access the supports and services they need to realize their entrepreneurial dreams.  Since its inception 20 years ago, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan has supported women by providing business advice and loans to those looking to start or expand a business in the province.

Today, Saskatchewan is home to many successful women entrepreneurs.  In 2014, there were 35,100 self-employed women in the province – a number that continues to grow each year.  Women Entrepreneurs Week is a time to recognize this impact, the continued contributions of our women and a time to encourage continued investment and growth in our province.

Helping Families Save for Post-Secondary Education

Saskatchewan families have received more than $6.7 million from the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) program since the program was announced.  Saving for post-secondary education is a priority for Saskatchewan families and I am proud to say more than 26,000 children in the province are now SAGES recipients.

Through SAGES, the Government of Saskatchewan provides a grant of 10 per cent on financial contributions made since January 1, 2013, into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to a maximum of $250 per child per year.  The following eligibility requirements must be met:

  • the child is a resident of Saskatchewan when the RESP contribution is made;
  • the child is named as a beneficiary of an eligible RESP;
  • the contribution is made on or before December 31 of the year the child turns 17; and
  • contributions must be made at a participating financial institution.

SAGES is an important part of our government’s Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and our commitment to quality, affordable post-secondary education.  SAGES is one more way that we are working to make Saskatchewan the best place to live, work and raise a family.