Regional Health Authorities: An Effective Policy Instrument to Deliver a Successful Population Health Strategy?
Mills, Adam T.
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The regionalization of health care in Saskatchewan was pursued to accomplish two principal goals: to achieve cost savings and economic efficiencies; and to redistribute resources from the traditional illness model to one that focused more broadly on wellness. This presentation focuses on the later. Also known as population health, a wellness approach to health is characterized by health promotion, illness prevention and a consideration of non-medical determinants of health with an end health policy objective to both improve overall health outcomes and reduce health inequalities within a population. As such, this presentation will examine whether regionalization as a policy instrument has been effective in delivering a population health strategy. Drawing on decentralization and critical theory, the presentation will argue that the lack of authority devolved to the regional health organizations; the absence of coordination among government ministries; and the interest of political elites within the health system have all erected significant barriers for regional health organizations to successfully deliver a population health strategy.