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Board meeting highlights advances in community-based care, smoking cessation initiatives

(SAINT JOHN) April 22, 2016 - Two high profile primary health care initiatives were the focus of Horizon Health Network's quarterly Board meeting in Saint John yesterday. The board heard a report from the executive responsible for the community-based portfolio and received an update on the extremely successful implementation of the Ottawa Smoking Cessation project.

Primary health care includes diagnosis and treatment as well as health promotion, illness and injury prevention, extending beyond the traditional health care system.

"We are improving the way we work with primary care providers and communities," said Horizon President and CEO, John McGarry. "Ideally, our system would have strong hospital-based care for those who truly need all the support and technology that comes with that, and appropriate community-based care to ensure every New Brunswicker has access to the services they need close to home."

The results from 13 Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) completed to date are being used to provide both Horizon and other stakeholders with a roadmap to improving their overall population health. The CHNAs take into consideration many factors to measure the health of a community including health behaviours, social and economic factors, physical environment and health services. As the New Brunswick Health Council has noted, expensive health services only contribute 10% to the health of individuals and populations.  

Jean Daigle, vice-president of community with Horizon said mental health, access to primary care, obesity/food security/healthy living, transportation and home care for seniors were among the most common priority areas identified in the assessments. Today, community partners are busy working on solutions.

"Thanks to this data and the work of various partners, great strides are being made in some of these priority areas," he said. "The communities are really coming together with great ideas and solutions that improve the health of the people who live there, from cooking classes to community health centres."

The Board also applauded the success of Horizon's clinical smoking cessation program.

Since 2007, Horizon has been using the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC) to increase the rates at which health providers deliver cessation treatments to patients.To date, Horizon has also provided support to 465 employees with 126 reporting they are smoke-free.

"Research shows that the cost of a smoking cessation program is more than offset by the reduction in health issues, making it the only prevention activity that can be expected to save money," said Daigle. "Since smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disability in the world, we are very pleased with our progress on this project."

The Board also had a unique opportunity to hear about the work of Horizon's First Nations Liaison Committee and how it communicates its needs to the organization. As well, it viewed the artwork of New Brunswick Aboriginal artist Natalie Sappier of Tobique First Nation. She presented a colourful painting depicting how the New Brunswick First Nations' health care system works, a piece that has been translated into three languages and is proudly displayed in most of Horizon's community health centres.

For more information on this and other board meetings, a Report to the Community is published quarterly. The next scheduled board meeting is June 23, 2016. 


For more information contact:

Stephanie Neilson
Media Relations

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