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NWT Health and Social Services Delivery

Health and Social Services System

The Northwest Territories (NWT) Health and Social Services System (HSS) depends on effective partnerships. The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA), the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority and the Tlicho Community Services Agency, as well as other Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) departments, the Government of Canada, non-government agencies, professional associations and the public all share responsibility for health and well-being in the NWT.

Department of Health and Social Services

The Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for the ministry functions as related to health and social services which include: setting standards and policies, strategic and business planning, resource allocation, and monitoring. The Department also administers the NWT Health Care Plan and Provides vital statistics services.

Health and Social Services Authorities

The Authorities are responsible for the design and delivery of territorial health and social services planning across the Northwest Territories and for delivery of health and social services.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) is responsible for delivering health and social services in most communities across the NWT, with six distinct regional operations as listed below:

The Hay River Health and Social Services Authority provides services to the community of Hay River: The Tlicho Community Services Agency was implemented as a result of the Tlicho Self Government Agreement and delivers health and social services in Tlicho Communities:


The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority was designed to have a governance model that provides a voice for regional concerns and a territorial board of management that can use this regional knowledge to improve care and outcomes for clients throughout the Northwest Territories.

Regional Wellness Councils

Regional Wellness Councils (RWCs) are composed of a group of residents within one of the geographic regions of the Northwest Territories. Their purpose is to serve as an advisory body to the Territorial Health and Social Services Authority.

Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Leadership Council

The chair of each Regional Wellness Council sits on the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Leadership Council. The Chair of the Tlicho Community Services Agency is also a member of the Leadership Council. These individuals serve as the Board of Management for the NTHSSA, along with a Chair appointed by the Minister of Health and Social Services. The Board of Management provides direction regarding budgets, policies, and how programs and services are delivered across the health and social services system.

The current Chair of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Leadership Council is Jim Antoine.

Insured Hospital Services

Insured hospital services are provided under the authority of the Hospital Insurance and Health and Social Services Administration Act (HIHSSA) and the Regulations. Four hospitals and 28 health centres deliver insured hospital services to both in and out-patients. The NWT provides coverage for a full range of insured hospital services. Insured in-patient services include: accommodation and meals at the standard ward level; necessary nursing services; laboratory, radiological and other diagnostic procedures together with the necessary interpretations; drugs, biological and related preparations prescribed by a physician and administered in hospital; routine surgical supplies; use of operating room, case room and anesthetic facilities; use of radiotherapy and physiotherapy services, where available; psychiatric and psychological services provided under an approved program; services rendered by persons who are paid by the hospital; and services rendered by an approved detoxification centre.

The NWT also provides a number of out-patient services. These include: laboratory tests, X-rays, including interpretations when requested by a physician and performed in an out-patient facility or in an approved hospital; hospital services in connection with most minor medical and surgical procedures; physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services in an approved hospital; and psychiatric and psychological services provided under an approved hospital program. The Minister may add, change or delete insured hospital services. The Minister also determines if any public consultation will occur before making changes to the list of insured services. Where medically necessary services are not available in the NWT, residents travel to hospitals or clinics in other jurisdictions. The NWT provides Medical Travel Assistance (as outlined in the Medical Travel Policy), which ensures that NWT residents have no barriers to accessing medically necessary services. The Department also administers several supplementary health benefits programs.

Extended Health Care Services

Continuing Care programs and services offered in NWT communities include: supported living, adult group homes, long-term care facilities, and extended care facilities. Where applicable, these programs and services operate according to HIHSSA and the Hospital Standards Regulations. Supported living services provide a home-like environment with increased assistance and a degree of supervision unavailable through home care services. Current services in this area include supported living arrangements in family homes, apartments and group-living homes where clients live as independently as possible. Group homes, long-term care facilities and extended care facilities provide more complex medical, physical and/or mental supports on a 24-hour basis. The NWT Home Care Program is established to provide community health care services to support independent living, to develop appropriate care options to support continued community living, and to facilitate admission to institutional care when community living is no longer a viable alternative. Home Care is based on need and is available to NWT residents without charge.

The range of Home Care services include: acute care, post-hospital care, chronic illness care, nutrition services, palliative care, personal care, medication management and monitoring, foot care, social support, ambulation, physical/occupational therapy, transportation assistance, equipment loan and respite care. Home Care services are delivered through the Health and Social Service Authorities and the Tlicho. Community Services Agency, and are based on multidisciplinary assessments of Individual needs. The Home Care Program provides services to the seven regions of Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, Beaufort- Delta, Sahtu, Dehcho, and Tlicho. Home care is funded through the Department of Health and Social Services as a core service. These services have been enhanced through funding from the First Nation and Inuit Health Branch.