A co-operative, by definition, is an organization with a willingness and ability to work with others. It is owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services.
There are four co-operative community clinics in Saskatchewan that not only provide wholistic primary healthcare to meet the needs of all their patients but also have the capacity/flexibility to highlight specific healthcare needs and tailor their services to meet the needs of specific populations within their locality.
The populations and health needs vary. These include Indigenous health, rural health, and refugee health. Co-operative community clinics provide are capable of offering care and services to the most vulnerable populations which are often over-looked in the mainstream healthcare system.
The goal is not only to provide care for the patients’ physical and mental health but also services to provide social services and the well-being of their communities. Co-operative community clinics offer social and education services and programs to their members, patients, and members of the community in which they are located.
The Regina Community Clinic is the only healthcare co-operative in southern Saskatchewan.
As a co-operative, members have input into the direction of the clinic via an elected Board of Directors. All members have a vote at annual general meetings and can become board members. There is a balanced approach to governance of these clinics: patients also have input and are partners in their healthcare.
Co-operative community clinics offer a fiscally efficient, integrated approach to healthcare. They have demonstrated savings within the healthcare system by curbing demands on the larger system, and providing more patient-focused care.
Community clinics are a working model of what the health system in Saskatchewan and across Canada is considering as an alternative of providing health care needs.