Fonds 313 - Northwest Territories. Department of Health fonds

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Northwest Territories. Department of Health fonds

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  • 1974-1997 (Creation)
    Northwest Territories. Department of Health (1978-1995)

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7.40 m textual records -- 166 photographs

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Administrative history

The Department of Health was established on August 14, 1978 when the Department of Health and Social Services was split to form two distinct departments in order to prepare for the eventual transfer of the responsibility for federal health services to the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The Department of Health was responsible for the promotion, improvement and preservation of the health of residents of the Northwest Territories through the development of an integrated and coordinated health care system in the Northwest Territories and the provision of health care services. This department administered the Supplementary Health Programs, Medicare Programs, Territorial Hospital Insurance Services, the Professional Training Bursary Programs and funded the Northwest Territories share of the cost of services provided in the Northwest Territories by Medical Services, Health and Welfare Canada. The department established health related promotional and educational activities, such as the development of a health curriculum for schools, family life promotion, tobacco cessation promotion and lifestyle awareness programs. The Department of Health also provided a Resource Centre for health care professionals that contained library and video material. It distributed information and materials relating to health and monitored and reviewed health-related legislation in the Northwest Territories. The department served on inter-provincial and national boards that developed policies, guidelines and legislation in respect to health and provided assistance and advice to other Government of the Northwest Territories departments on health matters.

The Administration Activity within the Department of Health developed, coordinated, directed and managed the delivery of health services in the Northwest Territories. It registered persons eligible for Hospital and Medical Care Insurance, coordinated special studies and research in health care, conducted an annual audit of medical services and reviewed costs of providing health services. The Administration Activity provided a bursary in order to assist persons employed in the health field in the Northwest Territories to obtain additional training and education. Between 1979-80, a Health Information and Promotion Program was delivered in order to increase health educational material in the Northwest Territories and to increase communication between health care professionals within the Northwest Territories. Funds were provided to community programs such as the Rae-Edzo Native Women's Committee Health Awareness Program and the department worked with the Department of Social Services and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation in assisting communities in developing services for the elderly and disabled. This activity also focused on streamlining the processing of claims in the Health Management Information system and prepared to assume provincial type health responsibilities as they were contracted with the federal government. Administration introduced new legislation (Hospital, Public and Mental Health), reviewed Supplementary Health Programs and followed-up major recommendations from studies such as the Inuvik Health Care Study.

There were three main divisions under the Administration Activity. The Directorate Division included Hospital Operations and was responsible for overall departmental direction and coordination. The Hospital Operations Division coordinated the budgeting and capital project process for budget review and developed policies and legislation regarding the operation of hospitals. The Health Insurance Division implemented the benefit plans of the Department of Health. The Finance and Administration Section of the Department of Health was also included under this division. The Programs and Standards Division, which included Health Promotion and the Health Resource Centre, developed policies and procedures, reviewed and developed ordinances and regulations, coordinated and delivered Health Promotion activities and planned health services for the elderly and chronically ill.

Between 1989-90, there were changes within the Administration Activity. The Activity was now accountable for the following: the Departmental Executive that consisted of the Deputy Minister's Office, Health Legislation and Policy and Finance and Administration. The Insurance and Institutional Health Division was composed of Health Insurance, Capital Planning, Hospitals and Health Facilities and Human Resources. The Community Health and Standards was under direction of the Assistant Deputy Minister and included Community Health Services, Nursing and Dental Services and the Medical Directorate. All of the personnel and financial resources for the administration of the Department of Health were included under this activity.

Prior to the amalgamation of the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services in 1994, the Administration Activity was reorganized again and divided into the following divisions: Deputy Minister's Office, Health Legislation and Policy, Finance and Administration Repatriation Program, Community Health, Nursing Services, the Medical Directorate, Health Insurance Services, Capital Planning and Maintenance, Hospital/Health Facility Operations and Human Resource Management. Through these divisions, the Administration Activity worked with Arctic College in developing curriculum for the Nursing Education Program and produced health profiles for the northern communities. The Administration Activity also developed HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, developed standards for air medevac carriers, drafted instructions for public health act and medical profession act, developed financial forecasting methods for health insurance programs and evaluated health insurance programs.

The Supplementary Health Programs supplemented the benefits provided by the Hospital Insurance, Medical Care and Medical Transportation programs. The Extended Medical Benefit Program alleviated costs for residents who did not receive coverage provided by employers. The programs paid most costs involved with the investigation, diagnosis, treatment, maintenance and/or rehabilitation of persons with specified long-term disease conditions. In 1980-81, the Department of Health consolidated the pharmacare programs of Health and Welfare Canada, Social Services and the Department of Health into one Pharmacare Program. This resulted in the Supplementary Health Programs paying the cost of most prescription drugs for senior citizens and those persons under age 65 who had one of the disease conditions that were supplemented by the Supplementary Health Programs. As well, an Aid to Independent Living Program was added to this activity. The Pharmacare Program also covered prescription drug costs for Treaty Indians and Inuit, which were fully reimbursed by Health and Welfare Canada. Costs incurred on behalf of indigent and non-native Northwest Territories residents were recovered from the Department of Social Services.

Between 1989-90, two additional programs were added to this activity. The Seniors' Extended Health Benefits Program provided coverage for non-Native and Metis residents who were 60 years and older in the areas of prescription drugs, glasses, special aids to independent living and medical transportation. The Federal Indian Health Policy was also created and administered on behalf of Health and Welfare Canada Supplementary Health Benefits to Status Indian and Inuit residents of the Northwest Territories. The Department of Health administered these benefits. Coverage included ground transportation, alcohol treatment, dental services, glasses, hearing aids and prescription drugs. In 1990-91, the Pharmacare Program and Seniors' Extended Health Benefits Program were dissolved, however, benefits that were paid through these programs were now paid through the Extended Health Benefits Program.

The Northwest Territories Share of Health Care Services Activity provided the funds required to pay the Government of the Northwest Territories' share of the medical services rendered to Metis and non-Native residents of the Northwest Territories that were provided by the Medical Services Branch of Health and Welfare Canada. These services were primarily provided through the nursing stations and health centres operated by Health and Welfare Canada. Between 1988-89, health services in the Baffin Region were operated solely by the Government of the Northwest Territories. The goal was to ultimately transfer all remaining Federal responsibilities for health services to the Territorial Government. In April 1988, Health and Welfare Canada's remaining responsibilities for health services were transferred from the federal government to the Government of the Northwest Territories. Transfer brought federal facilities and staff into the Government of the Northwest Territories, together with a decentralized system under Health/Hospital Boards. These Boards were responsible for the planning, management and delivery of health care. They delivered medical, dental and other programs in their regions, managed local units and were accountable to the Territorial Hospital Insurance Board which in turn, was accountable to the Minister of Health and ensured that the residents of the Northwest Territories participated in the development and management of their health services.

The Territorial Hospital Insurance Services Activity was responsible for the administration of hospital insurance programs for Northwest Territories residents. It included payments to Budget Review Hospitals, Semi-Budget Review Hospitals and other hospitals both inside and outside the Northwest Territories where residents of the Northwest Territories received care. This activity also monitored the cost of providing health care and conducted and supported research in the health care field. It reviewed all approved plans for the construction of health care facilities and developed and expanded health care services within or associated with the Budget Review Hospitals. This activity aimed to develop an integrated and coordinated system of hospital services within the Northwest Territories. This activity was also involved in the expansion of hospital services, establishing detoxification services, planning for nursing homes, conducting studies on health care in communities and reviewed of health care programs. During 1982-83, this activity negotiated the transfer of Nursing Stations from the Baffin Region to the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Between 1988-89, the Territorial Hospital Insurance Services monitored and controlled hospital expenditures and assisted hospitals in maintaining their accreditation standards. This activity recognized approved hospitals outside the Northwest Territories and funded referrals to these facilities when certain levels of hospital care was not available in the Northwest Territories. All health care in the north had to meet the requirements set out in the Territorial Hospital Insurance Services Act, Regulations, Policies and Standards, as well as applicable Territorial legislation and policies. In 1994-95, the Territorial Hospital Insurance Services was renamed the Health and Hospitals Board and the responsibility for providing payment for insured hospital services provided outside the Northwest Territories was transferred to the newly formed Out of Territories Hospitals Activity.

The Medicare plan covered medical services for residents of the Northwest Territories while they were receiving care both in the Northwest Territories and outside the Northwest Territories. The physician recruitment program was part of this activity and aimed at recruiting and staffing various positions across the north. In 1989, the name changed to the Medical Care Plan.

Between 1980-81, a Medical Services Contract was added to the Department of Health. The department contracted with the Northwest Territories Regional Medical Services Branch of Health and Welfare Canada to provide a financial, secretarial and office support service. All of the direct costs of providing this service were reflected in this activity. The contract was completed and dissolved in 1988 when the responsibility for health services were transferred from Health and Welfare Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories.

In 1984-85, the Medical Transportation Activity was added to the Department of Health. This activity was responsible for paying patient and escort costs associated with the Subsidized Medical Travel and Returning Inuit Travel Programs. The financial payment for medical travel costs were processed through the Department of Health and recoveries made from the appropriate agency. Health and Welfare Canada handled the program administration for this activity at the community level.

In 1995, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services were consolidated to form a single department called the Department of Health and Social Services.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consist of approximately 7.40 m of textual records and 156 photographs from the Department of Health.

The bulk of the material relates to various committees in which the Department of Health was the lead agency. There are records from the Pharmacare Formulary Advisory Committee, Medical Advisory Committee, Health Coordinating Committee, Committee on Medical Legal Concerns, Minutes from the Certified Nursing Assistants Committee, Health Facilities Planning and Construction and the Community Health Advisory Committee. In addition, there is material that was generated by the Management Services Division. The records, dated 1982-1990, are primarily administrative records including minutes and reports from various committee and secretariats.

In addition there is material which was generated by the Mackenzie Regional Health Board and dates between 1988-1993. The files relate to Nursing Conferences and Committees, St. John Ambulance Committee, Maternal Prenatal Committee, Community Health Committee and Senior Management Meetings. There are also records from the Department of Social Services relating to Social Services Management Committee Meetings and Health and Social Services Training Programs.

There are records from the Legislation and Policy division, including relating to the amalgamation of the departments of Health and Social Services, as well as records relating to the transfer of Baffin region health assets from the federal Department of Health as well as records relating to the Medical Patient Search Project (MPSP).
The MPSP project was undertaken between 1988 and 1991 to search for the location of medical patients who were sent south for treatment and subsequently lost to their families.

Material from the Health Promotions and Education Division includes published reports, brochures and newsletters from the Department of Health dating from 1977-[1995]. The material includes reports on health conditions, ambulance services and poison control. There are also information pamphlets on a wide variety of topics for public information, career promotion within the Department, an interpreters handbook, the internal departmental newsletter N.W.T Healthbeat, as well as one large information kit on northern cuisine published in French.

Also included within the fonds are 140 colour slides and 16 colour photographs from the Legislation and Policy division. The slides were part of the Information Services section's slide library. The images include photography of health services, staff, infrastructure and programs offered by the Department of Health and date between 1960 and 1981. The colour photographs are related to the Medical Patient Search Project, and feature cemeteries where northern patients were known to have been buried.

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      Access restricted under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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      Copyright held by GNWT.

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