Health Region board approves balanced budget

Jodi Schellenberg
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The numbers are in and the proposed Prince Albert Parkland Regional Health Authority budget is in the black.

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After a Regional Health Authority board meeting this week, the proposed 2014-2015 fiscal year budget was approved.

“Our total revenue is $224 million and our expenditures are $223 and then $1 million for our mortgage payments and our long-term care reserves and our performance loans,” PAPHR CEO Cecile Hunt said.  

This year, the health region received a $1.5 million investment that will help pay for 26 additional long-term care beds at the new Pineview Terrace Lodge, bringing the capacity up from 34 to 60. The $22.6 million building will be opened in late June this year.

“We also received funding for the contract results for the Canadian Union of Public Employees,” Hunt said. “That’s certainly new dollars to cover those costs. They have been completely covered by the province of Saskatchewan. Right now, that is an approximate payable. When the detail comes, that will be coming forward as well.”

“We have received some targeted additional funding but we also have some shared services; efficiencies that will equal $3.3 million,” Hunt added.  

She described the budget as “status quo” and said there will be some trials this year.

“While we have some new resources, we also have some challenges,” Hunt said. “We know that the hard work begins tomorrow that we have to implement the new budget and sustain our efficiencies wherever possible throughout the year.”

One of the things she would like to see this year is continued reduction in sick time and overtime, plus look at the supply management and other shared service initiatives throughout the region.

“We have a new wellness program that we initiated last September 2013,” Hunt said. “We have had some success with it. This way it will be completely implemented for the complete year.

“We have areas that we have had success and we will continue,” she added. “We need to reduce costs and this is better for our employees as well as for the organization. We also need to focus on acquiring more relieve staff and that hopefully will reduce the amount of overtime.”

There will also be some equipment upgrades in the health region this year.

“We are very fortunate to have received some money from the Government of Saskatchewan for a new CT scanner as well as some additional diagnostic equipment at the Victoria Hospital in the area of dental X-ray,” she said.  

“We are feeling very fortunate there -- we have done the ongoing day-to-day replacements and we know we will receive some support from various foundations,” she added. “When those are verified, equipment will be purchased. We are very happy that we have the ongoing support of different foundations throughout the region.”

Another area of expense will be on the capital side of things.

“We will be spending $2.9 million on our capital infrastructure, the repairs to our buildings and upgrades around life and safety, as well as our capital equipment, we will be spending $2.3 million,” Hunt said. “Some of it is targeted around diagnostic imagining.

“We also received $570,000 and … each program will receive some new resources,” she added. “Thirty per cent of that will be focused on long-term care.”

She believes that it will be a good year, even though they do face some challenges.

“I think that we were able to almost achieve a balanced budget last year -- we have a very small deficit $655,000,” Hunt said. “I think we were able to achieve that through the hard work of our staff and our physicians.

“We really need to thank them for their ongoing diligence and stewardship,” she added. “We look forward to working with them as we face this budget year. It will not be easy. It is a status quo budget but we have areas of targeted funding and we really are very interested in moving forward.”

Organizations: Region board, Regional Health Authority, Canadian Union of Public Employees Victoria Hospital

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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