KO Health Team Travels to Ottawa for Meetings

James Kakepetum (Keewaywin Health Director), Orpah McKenzie (KO Health Director), John Rowlandson (KO Telehealth Project Manager) and Dr. Ed Brown (NORTH Network Director) traveled to Ottawa to meet with Health Canada officials o­n Wednesday Dec 11. Representatives from Health Canada included Al Garman (Ontario Regional Director, FNIHS), James Adams (Western Zone Director, FNIHS) and Ernie Dal Grande (FNHIS, Manager).

This meeting was the first opportunity for Mr. Garman to meet with Keewaytinook Okimakanak about the different health services initiatives being worked o­n by the team, in particular the Telehealth project. The information and final report from the Zone Telehealth Workshop was shared and discussed. The KO team provided the group with a powerpoint presentation detailing the work completed to date and the program needs to ensure its sustainability. Everyone was very helpful and supportive in identifying the best approach to ensure the o­ngoing operation of the KO Telehealth service.

James volunteered that Keewaywin be part of the FNHIS (health information system) version 2 pilot initiative. This will mean that they will be integrated as a network service demonstrating multiple health applications over their single community network.

The team also had a marvelous (and totally spontaneous) meeting with Minister Nault in the lobby of the Confederation building. Afterwards they were able to have a focused 40 minutes with Patti Skillen at the Minister's Office in Hull talking about funding options for the telehealth project and what INAC can do (capital, CTC wages) to support this development in the First Nations. Also discussed were other cross-over issues such as telehealth support for special needs, special education and Head Start (early child development).

A meeting with the National Nursing Association also proved to be a value opportunity to share information and obtain their support for the work being done by the KO Health Services team.