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New hospital to serve vast land mass

SIOUX LOOKOUT, Ont. – Considered a First Nations’ Centre of Health Excellence, the new 60-bed Meno Ya Win Health Centre has opened to patients in Sioux Lookout. The hospital uses First Nations concepts of health, healing and wellness and will assume a leadership role in developing and delivering culturally sensitive healthcare in Northwestern Ontario.

This includes around-the-clock translation services and a traditional healing, medicine and food program. The new hospital replaces two existing 58-year-old hospitals and will provide new or expanded services including screening and diagnostic mammography.

The chronic kidney disease program is expanding by two stations for a total of six at the hospital. The new hospital will also provide more than 300 jobs in Sioux Lookout.

“The new Meno Ya Win Health Centre will increase access to healthcare for all residents in Sioux Lookout and its surrounding communities, including 28 First Nations communities,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “The new hospital will deliver modern healthcare while honouring the rich healing traditions of Ontario’s First Nations.”

Meno Ya Win Health Centre will serve over 30,000 patients every year. The hospital is a result of a four party agreement between local First Nations, federal, provincial and municipal governments.

“This is a very important day for healthcare delivery in the north and especially for the 28 First Nations communities that we serve, spread over one-third of Ontario’s land mass. The basis of cooperation that was set out in the 4 Party Agreement has led to a Centre of Excellence that will have a very positive impact on all of the people of this area,” said Dave Murray, President & CEO, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre.

For its part, Meno Ya Win Health Centre has received full accreditation status from Accreditation Canada, a national, not-for-profit, independent organization. During the onsite survey, two surveyors with broad based experience in Canadian healthcare evaluated client programs and services throughout SLMHC by speaking with and observing numerous staff members, physicians, and clients, reviewing documentation, touring facilities, and conducting focus group meetings with board members and community partners.

“Accreditation is an important milestone for every healthcare organization,” said Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre CEO, David Murray. “It means that we meet national standards and those we serve can be assured that we provide quality care and programs that meet or exceed accepted national levels of quality care.”

Meno Ya Win Health Centre has exceeded previous survey results by attaining a 98.6% compliance rate measured against 1,486 applicable criteria, meeting all Required Organizational Practices, and being awarded three-year accreditation status without conditions.

This is a noteworthy accomplishment. “It took great teamwork to get where we are, and we intend to keep up the momentum,” said Barb Linkewich, Vice President of Health Services. “The results identify and reaffirm where our strengths are and also provide us with valuable recommendations for ongoing improvement. Obtaining external peer feedback on one’s services is a crucial element to the evaluation process. We want to thank everyone involved for their tremendous efforts and making our journey towards quality health care in this region a truly rewarding experience.”

Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre will continue to work towards acquiring additional resources that will enhance patient services, notably mammography and CT equipment. SLMHC will continue to build on its strengths, address areas of improvement, and overcome many challenges as we move into the brand new, state of the art facility in November, 2010.

Posted November 4, 2010