News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 8, 2018


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Move Would Allow Individuals to Focus on Recovery While Being Closer to Home: Friesen

The Manitoba government will issue a request for proposals (RFP) later this month to engage a residential addictions facility within the province to treat individuals experiencing severe addiction and mental health disorders, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“For years, those approved for treatment for severe addiction and mental health disorders would have to leave the province to receive these services,” said Friesen.  “By contracting a locally based facility, we would allow these individuals to focus on their recovery, not on travel, while being closer to home, their families and other supports.”

Currently, individuals seeking this type of care are sent to an out-of-province facility, provided they meet the necessary criteria, which includes the exhaustion of treatment services in Manitoba and a referral from an addictions physician for expanded residential addiction treatment.  From 2013 to 2017, funding for out-of-province treatment was provided to 39 Manitobans diagnosed with severe addiction and mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

While the tendering process will determine the value of the contract, it is anticipated costs per client could be substantially less than out-of-province facilities, allowing the savings to be reinvested into treatment for others, said Friesen.

“The benefits of this approach are that clients have greater access to long-term followup closer to home, there is better value for health-care dollars, we support Manitoba service providers and we build treatment capacity in Manitoba,” said Friesen.  “We will be using the RFP process to ensure all interested, qualified parties have the opportunity to offer the service while ensuring the maximum benefit for individuals and the prudent use of health-care funding.”

The minister said the tender will close 30 days after posting, with the awarding of the contract expected shortly thereafter.  The recommendation for this initiative was made in the VIRGO report, which outlined a mental health and addictions strategy for the province, and builds on the government’s commitment to increasing timely access to addiction and mental health services.

In the past 10 weeks, four Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics have opened and treated more than 250 patients in Winnipeg, Thompson and Brandon, with a fifth location opening soon in Selkirk, the minister said.  Six new mental health beds were also opened earlier this year at Health Science Centre Winnipeg, while a dozen additional women’s addiction treatment beds were opened at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s Portage Avenue centre in Winnipeg.

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