Municipalities Build Back Better With Whole Person Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of talk about a Build Back Better approach in our communities during the Covid 19 pandemic.  One strategy that helps address those in need is a Whole Person Care approach using a digital platform to collect and measure outcomes for wrap around programs which can be fully funded under the new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.

With the arrival of Covid 19, the amount spent on healthcare is increasing in every community. While the amount invested in healthcare is increasing, municipalities are spending up to 25% of their healthcare costs to support non-value add aspects in their healthcare system. Value-based care models help optimize what is spent to get the best outcomes. How do communities do more with less as Covid 19 increases health and economic risk? In the short term we will need to work together with what we have and find ways to get better outcomes for less.

We know that Covid 19 is accelerating value-based healthcare approach in communities. Whole-person care is not far behind.

Whole person care describes a wrap around approach that addresses complete physical health, behavioral health and social wellbeing. Communities that work together as a team to provide care for individuals with poorly managed conditions including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and COPD are better equipped to improve health outcomes for less. Helping to manage care for this population most at risk relies on seamless information exchange, tele-health, care co-ordination and consumer engagement. All of these conditions are closely related to the social determinants of health.

Post acute care including home health, hospice and senior living facilities and human service including community mental health centers, addiction treatment centers and social service agencies in every community need to have the technology and skills to work as equal partners. Every community now has a chance to build back better with whole person care. 

Whole person care gets even better when amplified with data science and analytics that are driven with a prescriptive approach to patient care. To prepare our communities to deliver better outcomes during the pandemic, municipalities need to look at systems that offer interoperability – a framework that supports bidirectional exchange of data across systems and providers of care, a network to network bridge, policy agreements, discrete data and support for client consent and sharing that consent with others.

Consumer engagement with a patient portal makes it easier for hospitals and physicians to work with clients. Automated referrals, tele-health and patient information integration create a public care eco-system that serves the public in Covid 19 times. Building Back Better with the help of funding from the Canada Healthy Community Initiative makes it possible to accelerate the care you need in every community. Let us know if you need help with your digital transformation as you build back better in your community.

 

Learn more: Contact Athena Software

 

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Ensuring Accessibility in your Municipality

By law, as of January 1, 2021, all public sector organizations and private or non-profits organizations with 50+ employees must make their web content fully accessible and compliant under Ontario’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

How to Comply

 

To comply with WCAG, your public-facing website and all newer posted content must meet WCAG 2.0 standards (as outlined in the Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications). For more detailed information on what needs steps need to be done to make your website accessible visit – https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-make-websites-accessible.

 

It should also be noted that you don’t have to make changes to your internal website to make it accessible. As well, any content posted to your website before 2012 does not need to be modified to meet WCAG. However, if you are asked, you will need to work with individuals to make this content available to them in an alternate format such as large print or braille.

Tips for Testing your Websites for Accessibility

Once your website is updated to meet WCAG, it is a good idea to test your website out to make sure that your new or refreshed website is accessible before it is launched. Here are some good ways to ensure your website will be accessible for all of your users.

Automatic Assessment and Assistive Technology – Do a final review of your website using an automatic assessment tool that will help flag any issues that have not been resolved. An example of this would be to review your site using assistive technology like a screen reader to make sure the website’s design and technical aspects are accessible.

 

Review Key Milestones and Changes – It is a good idea to keep a record of the accessibility issues that have been made to your website. Doing this will allow you to see the completed work and how it has been made accessible. As well, having this done up can be helpful if your organization is asked to show how your website is WCAG 2.0 compliant.

 

Online Accessibility Checker – Use an online tool to check if your website is accessible. While using an online tool does not guarantee that you will find all accessibility issues it can still find somethings you might have missed. This is why it is important to have people review the site as well.

 

User Testing and Feedback – When possible, ask people with disabilities to test your site before it is launched. Receiving feedback from potential users will help you to find out if there are any further improvements needed.

 

If You Can’t Comply with WCAG

It may not always be possible to meet the WCAG 2.0 requirements. As an example of this, your website may have been created using software and other tools that predate WCAG 2.0.  While you may be able to update or repair the products you used to support accessibility, if this is not possible, you will need to make sure that when you refresh your website you use new software that supports accessibility.

 

As well, it may not be possible for you to post some content in a way that complies with WCAG 2.0. An example of this is when you post something like an online map or a complex diagram that is not readily accessible to people with visual disabilities. In cases like this, you may still post the content, however, you must provide it in an accessible format upon request.

 

In the end, the positive outcome of compliance with WCAG, is that your website will be accessible to everyone! 

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Covid 19 – Federal Funding for Municipal Solutions

The Covid 19 pandemic is creating a massive strain on resources in communities across Canada. Human service solutions in education, justice, social and health were never designed to take on this much for so long. Canadian municipalities are making adjustments to accommodate the surge in demand and the ever changing needs of their community. 

 

Some of our communities are now in the red zone creating the need for further restrictions. Federal, provincial and municipal governments are responding with additional funding and co-operation to help reduce the damage and improve the outcomes in less time. 

 

On August 13 2020, The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities announced the creation of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative with up to $31 million ($19M 2020-21 & $12M 2021-22) in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.The demands placed on families and individuals by COVID-19 have exposed a real need for low-cost, locally-driven ideas to help communities adapt and thrive. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help breathe life into these small projects that can have a big impact as local governments, Indigenous communities and their non-profit partners rethink public spaces and how they deliver services to people.”

 

While Infrastructure Canada (INFC) is providing the funding, there is another organization yet to be announced that will organize, evaluate and distribute funding based on your proposal. This announcement will be made shortly. Your municipality will be able to submit a Covid 19 related infrastructure proposal that is between $5,000-$250,000. Three focus areas are: digital solutions, improved mobility solutions and safe and vibrant public spaces. 

 

A community project that develops infrastructure -related solutions to address changing community needs through the use of data and connected technologies starts with the ability to understand who is affected, what is being delivered and what needs to be done with priority. Measuring outcomes and sharing this information in a secure way becomes the source of truth for social service, health, justice and education partners that are focused on helping those most affected by Covid 19. Any municipality working to solve these complex and rapidly evolving stress points without a case management solution will have overlapping solutions that cost more than required and fail to see the gaps, reducing the outcomes. When you have time and budget, municipalities will continue to manage human services in a way that offers a path with least resistance. 

 

Covid 19 has exhausted both time and budget. Human services in your community need to work together efficiently. Working to save lives today and preparing for the future depends on it. Athena Software is a Canadian company that has experience working with every level of government in 15 countries around the world helping them find a way to do more with less and get better outcomes. Let me know if you would like to see how this can work for your community. 

Learn more: Athena Software

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COVID-19 Pandemic – What’s next.

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The pandemic continues to rapidly expand in communities across Canada. At the time of this article over 267,000 Canadians have contracted the disease, 217,000 are recovered and 10,552 died. The number of cases each day is accelerating.

The effects of this highly contagious disease are catastrophic when left unchecked. Health systems are at risk of collapse affecting all other health issues. Covid 19 is not just affecting health care. Municipalities are being asked to address the surge in demand in every human service sector – education, justice, social and healthcare.

Primary care and wait times are measured with traditional outcomes in most communities. The wave we do not see coming as easily is just outside of the range of a 911 call. Mental health issues, loss of income, housing, food, education, relationships are all affected with Covid 19. The cold dark days of winter are coming. The risks associated with Covid 19 and issues associated with the disease are going to increase over the winter months.

While a vaccine may be available early 2021, it’s unlikely every Canadian will have access to the vaccine when it is approved.

Municipalities need to proactively seek strategies that wrap programming around individuals and families at risk. Traditional models of care that involve home visits or appointments are shifting to tele-health.

The federal government in co-operation with the provincial and territorial governments announced funding and extension to funding as the need requires.

It’s time to consider the short and long term requirements of your community during and after the pandemic and make use of the funding currently available to enable your municipality to not just survive but build its way out to a better future.

Contact us to learn more about Athena Software!

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Oh, you’re in Procurement…so what do you do exactly?

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Have you ever told someone you’re a Procurement Professional, and then spent the next 20 minutes explaining what a Procurement Professional does?

 

Why is it that doctors and lawyers can simply say they’re doctors or lawyers and leave it at that…but as Procurement Professionals we turn ourselves into pretzels trying to justify our reason for existence?

 

One of the reasons is because the procurement industry, and we ourselves as Procurement Professionals, haven’t done a good job of defining our role in an organization

 

Remember, if you don’t define your role then somebody else will do it for you

 

So if your internal clients think your job is to get quotes, cut POs and make sure invoices get paid…those are the only things they’ll want your help with

 

But if you can articulate and, more importantly, demonstrate your understanding of your organizations competitive market positioning

 

And how you’re responsible for aligning the supply chain with the organizations goals and objectives

 

Then getting quotes and cutting POs isn’t who you are, it’s just some of the MANY things you do as a Procurement Professional

 

No here’s the catch…saying and doing are two very different things

 

So before you start telling your colleagues about secondary sourcing strategies to mitigate offshore supply chain risk

 

Or why it’s important to implement formal vendor management and category management programs in your organization

 

You should also have the skillset to do actually these things

 

And to help with that, we just launched new Strategic Sourcing Essentials eLearning course I co-developed with my friend and colleague, Mark Morrissey

 

Mark and I cover 6 modules in the course:

 

  1. Aligning Strategic Sourcing with corporate goals and objective
  2. Competitive Positioning and Supply Chain Risk
  3. Leading Class Practices
  4. Vendor Management
  5. Negotiation Strategies
  6. Case Study – Process Transformation

 

You can go through the course at your own pace, and when you’ve completed it and submitted your responses to the final case study, you’ll receive a digital certificate of completion

 

You’ll also have access to the course for 1 year so you can always go back and review any of the modules or chat with your peers that are also taking the course

 

And if you’re in a team of 3 or more people, you can take advantage of our corporate rates

 

2020’s been a tough year and many people didn’t get a chance for any meaningful professional development

 

Well this is a chance to, not only tick a box on your year-end review, but actually build on your skillset as a procurement professional

 

For more information you can visit our website

 

Thanks and hope to see you in the course,

Mohammed 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you know what you want or need?

It is important that you know what you are asking for…so that it’s not risky.

You have asked for an Assessment. Stakeholders are concerned about security. Is the goal to look to identify your Security Risks, Threats, Consequences or Vulnerabilities? Or all of them? Collectively, there is a formula for that.

Risk = Threats + Consequences + Vulnerability

Do not be taken in by someone who says all assessments are the same.  A risk assessment, threat assessment, vulnerability assessment, security audit or even a business impact analysis are not the same as each other.

Square peg, round hole.

A Threat assessment looks to understand what entities may have an interest in creating a security concern or problem for your organization.

A Security Audit is a validation or verification that security measures that are currently in place are actually in place and doing what they intended to do. This audit focuses specifically on the effectiveness of security and determines if a known vulnerability is being addressed. It does not measure risk.

Vulnerability Assessments look to understand both consequences and vulnerabilities. Threats however within a vulnerability assessment are assumed to be at a high level. At the end of a Vulnerability assessment organizations quite often implement increased security measures to address the vulnerabilities and lower the consequences. This happens because the level of threat and the probability of an occurrence from happening is not actually analyzed.

The Consequence focused Business Impact Analysis identifies the most critical of assets to an organization and sets out to build resiliency around these identified assets, most commonly as a business continuity plan.  Business Impact Analyses do not address threats or vulnerability.

The Risk Assessment is the most effective means of determining security adequacy as it considers all three elements of risk – threat, vulnerability, and consequence.  A Risk assessment should be the methodology of choice if you are seeking to determine your security adequacy and avoid the potential pitfalls of not having all of the information.

But all is not lost. It is okay if your organization needs to only conduct one or several of the assessments mentioned above. There may be cause for you to do one assessment over another, resulting in a more intimate understanding of that particular assessments output.

We can assist your organization in determining which of these assessments is best for you given your organization’s current security risk landscape.

We can Help.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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Does Insurance Need to be Publicly Tendered?

We recently heard about a debate among certain public sector organizations on whether the trade agreements apply to the procurement of insurance. To help clarify things, we decided to answer this question.

In this blog post we only examine whether the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) and the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA) apply as they are trade agreements that apply to most Canadian municipalities. To be 100% sure about whether insurance has to be tendered, municipalities should also check their local rules.

When must a procurement be publicly tendered under CFTA and CETA?

The CFTA and CETA trade agreements apply to Canadian municipalities when:

    • The municipality is included in the trade agreement
    • The good or service is included in the trade agreement
    • The dollar value of the final contract is:
      o 105,700 or greater for goods or services and 264,200 or greater for construction (CFTA)
      o 366,200 for goods/services and 9,100,000 for construction (CETA)

Must the purchase of insurance be publicly tendered under CFTA and CETA?

No. Insurance is not subject to either CFTA or CETA as of the date of this blog post.

CFTA, at Chapter 13, defines the term “financial service” to include a variety of financial services, including insurance. The CFTA, Article 504(11)(h), stipulates that the procuring of a “financial service” is exempted where it is in respect of managing government financial assets and liabilities, including any ancillary and information services. Since insurance is a tool used to manage public assets and liabilities, it is therefore exempted from the application of the CFTA.

CETA applies only to the specific services listed in Annex 19-5. Services are denoted by their Central Product Classification (CPC) code. The CPC codes for insurance and insurance services are not listed in Annex 19-5. As such, insurance is not captured by the CETA.

Regional Note for Western Canada Municipalities — Although CFTA and CETA exempt insurance and related services, entities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC may be under an obligation to tender their insurance requirements under the regional New West Trade Partnership Agreement (NWTPA), which does not explicitly exempt financial services. To be sure, we recommend municipalities consult with their legal counsel or a procurement professional.

Are the ancillary services, such as brokerage and insurance advisory services also exempt?

Yes, services ancillary to insurance are excluded.

Under CFTA, the services provided by insurance brokers, which are by their very nature services ancillary to insurance, are exempted.

As for CETA, the omission of the CPC codes for insurance and related services is sufficient to conclude that brokerage services are excluded from CETA.

Even if insurance exempted from the public tendering requirements, should municipalities tender their insurance requirements?

We think so, particularly if the municipality has never put its insurance requirements out to tender before.

In our experience, all brokers are not created equal. Some are well equipped to provide insurance and risk advisory services while others, not so much.

Municipalities are best served by brokers with experience in the municipal sector who are well-positioned to advise municipalities on available insurance products and who are well positioned to find the best coverage possible for given risks. Tendering your insurance requirements using a RFP that, among other things, evaluates broker capacity and experience, that qualitatively ensures you’re accessing the best brokers and advisors, is a great way to ensure the municipality is getting the best advice and value available for the dollars spent.  Tendering may take a bit more upfront time and effort but the dividends should pay off in the long term.

Lise Patry is a business and public procurement lawyer working out of Ottawa. She co-founded LXM LAW LLP in 2020 to help municipalities with their procurement and contracting legal needs. LXM LAW’s team includes both experienced municipal procurement consultants and lawyers. Lise can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 613-601-6333. (Special thanks to Daniel Ebady, articling student, for his assistance with this blog post.)

Readers are cautioned not to rely upon this article as legal advice nor as an exhaustive discussion of the topic or case. For any particular legal problem, seek advice directly from your lawyer or in-house counsel. All dates, contact information and website addresses were current at the time of original publication.

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An Artist’s Eye to Risk & Security Program Success

 

 

Michelangelo famously created the sculpture David and JK Rowling famously revealed characters that already existed. Two completely different types of artists and art.

But how did Michelangelo actually approach this masterpiece? Did he take a stone and begin to carve, and David was eventually the result, or did he know that David was already in the stone and he had to carve away the waste to reveal him? JK Rowling did the latter.

Which approach applies to your organization?

Do you work to reveal the security practices that are already intuitively imbedded by hard working staff doing the right thing and expand on these, or realize that you need to start fresh and create something new?

Let us take a look. Your organization is well established. Many operational and strategic programs and processes are in place. But your now are faced with ramping up your security program. Create policies, procedures, establish the

With both approaches your personnel, all personnel, security or otherwise play the most significant part in the immediate and continued success of your Risk & Security program.

At a high level view, your Risk & Security program has 3 major components;

  1. Plans/Procedures: you need purpose, direction, and accountability
  2. Hard/Soft tools: software, hardware, technical systems…such as cameras, card access, etc.
  3. And the third piece that actually holds it all together and makes it work, people (personnel).

Of course, while the various plans/procedure, technical systems and devices assist in the assurance of security – it all ultimately boils down to personnel.

But they don’t just get there on their own.

There needs to be a commitment within your program to educate, cooperate, and involve personnel to be successful.

Not sure where to begin? We can help.

It all starts with a conversation.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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Municipal Procurement Goes International!

In 2017, the introduction of the Canada EU Trade Agreement (CETA) suddenly shined a new spotlight on municipal procurement, thrusting it onto the international stage. For the first time ever, municipalities were forced to open up procurement opportunities to international suppliers. Almost concurrently, Canada updated its domestic trade agreement, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), modeled on the CETA. Together, these agreements represent a major paradigm shift for municipal procurement, with some notable impacts as discussed below.

Trade Agreements Regulate Municipal Procurement. Before 2017, Canadian municipalities were generally expected to adopt procurement rules ensuring openness, fairness and value for money. The impact of the new 2017 trade agreements was that, for the first time, municipalities were now required to comply with detailed procurement processes and procedures. The trade agreements cover a full range of new requirements including:
• posting tender notices online
• specific information to include in tender notices
• permitted types of procurements (e.g. open, direct)
• how to handle receipt of bids
• the do’s and don’ts of drafting solicitation documents
• the award of contracts
• posting notices of contract awards and
• bidder barring rules.

Increased Liability ExposureNew supplier rights and remedies. Before 2017, it was almost impossible for disgruntled suppliers to complain about trade agreement violations under Canada’s national trade agreement. The 2017 agreements have introduced new rights and remedies for suppliers, including the rights to:
• a debriefing when they are unsuccessful in a procurement process;
• file a complaint that now must be addressed by the procuring entity – can’t be ignored;
• to submit legal challenges to a federal/provincial/territorial bid dispute panel.

Single Portal Access to all Canadian procurement opportunities. Currently municipalities use all sorts of online portals to publish their opportunities, making access to contract opportunities challenging for suppliers. In the 2017 agreements, the federal government committed to establishing a single online portal by 2022 so that suppliers have one point of entry for all Canadian contract opportunities. Once implemented, this portal will undoubtedly expose municipal procurements to an exponentially greater number of suppliers, further shining the light on municipal procurement practices.

The Municipal Procurement Experience Under CFTA/CETA After 3 Years
It’s hard to conclude the trade agreements had a major impact on municipalities. While anecdotal evidence suggests municipalities have shored up procurement bylaws, policies and procedures, we’ve seen few challenges to municipal procurements under the new trade agreements. This could suggest the supplier community is not paying close attention to the changed landscape and that perhaps it hasn’t caught on to new supplier rights and remedies. And what about Canada’s promised single access portal by 2022? It appears the federal government is working on it. A 2018 Ernst & Young LLP/SAP press release announcing a contract award to develop the portal stated: Provincial and municipal organizations will… be offered an option to use this new platform to streamline their procurement processes … while engaging with more than 183,000 government suppliers. (That’s a lot of suppliers!)

What does the future hold?
The future is now for municipal procurement. We suggest it won’t be long before the seismic shift of the trade agreements is felt. It’s just a matter of time before suppliers gain a better understanding of their rights and remedies under the trade agreements and hold municipalities accountable for compliance. Once the federal portal is implemented, we expect a slew of new suppliers (national and international) will foray onto the municipal procurement stage. There’s still time. If the seismic shift is coming as we suggest, there’s no better time than now for municipalities to get their procurement house in order.

Lise Patry co-founded LXM LAW LLP in 2020 to help municipalities with their procurement needs. LXM LAW’s team includes both experienced municipal procurement consultants and lawyers. Lise can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 613-601-6333. 

Readers are cautioned not to rely upon this article as legal advice nor as an exhaustive discussion of the topic or case. For any particular legal problem, seek advice directly from your lawyer or in-house counsel. All dates, contact information and website addresses were current at the time of original publication.

 

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Check please!

Is your security risk management, business continuity and any other resilience program you have simply to prove you have one? Check the box, so to speak? It’s perhaps stable, reliable, unchanging?

Then you have a problem. You’re doing it wrong.

You’re doing it wrong.

You’re programs should be designed to generate improvements. There should be a built-in restart, of the assessment process. The cycle should ensure improvements re-align to the overall business objectives. Your improvements should replace those areas of the program that don’t work, are unnecessary, and need revitalization.

We can help. We can help get your program from simply sustaining itself to regenerating, restarting, re-aligning, replacing, and revitalizing itself so that it works when needed; so that it works for you. We can help get your program working for you.

It starts with a conversation.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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