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2011-12 Operating Budget Approved

A stronger emphasis on high quality patient care and deeper staff engagement are the focus of the 2011-12 operating budget, approved by Sun Country Regional Health Authority at its regular meeting on May 25, 2011.

The Health Authority approved an operating budget of $134 million to implement the elements of its new Strategic Plan in the coming year. That reflects a 9.4 per cent increase in base funding from the Ministry of Health for employee compensation, inflation and funding for new programs.

The budget is aligned with the Strategic and Operational Directions of the Ministry of Health. The budget provides for no major changes in service levels for patients/residents/clients or in staffing levels.

“Investing in quicker surgical care, implementing more effective falls prevention and infection control measures, and engaging our employees are some of the most important priorities we have identified for the coming year,” says Sharon Bauche, Chair of the Sun Country Regional Health Authority.

“Our staff has also identified savings we can make in several programs so more of the operating budget can be directed to putting the patient first,” she says.

The 2011-12 operating budget will allow the Region to:

  • Continue with the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, which will allow for 125 additional surgeries to be performed in Weyburn General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital of Estevan. About 640 surgeries, mostly dental restoration and extraction, obstetrics and gynecological, laparoscopy, and general surgery are performed each year. Ear, nose and throat surgeries will be added this year.
  • Distribute the new falls prevention strategies to all long term care facilities in the Region,
  • Increase the number of patients who rate their health care experience as exceptional through the quality improvement work we will do,
  • Expand the quality improvement programs like Lean and Releasing Time to Care to more staff,
  • Continue our efforts to recruit and retain physicians,
  • Increase public awareness of the 40 Developmental Assets and and Understanding the Early Years, both for healthy children’s development. This will be facilitated through partnerships with community organizations (Regional Intersectoral Committee RIC),
  • Develop a framework to promote healthy weights among the public,
  • Implement a full Medication Reconciliation program to prevent medication errors at patient transition points.
  • Decrease the number of staff days lost to injuries on the job,
  • Implement a staff retention/satisfaction package,

“Sun Country Health Region can invest in these priorities as a result of targeted funding from the Ministry of Health,” says Marga Cugnet, Interim CEO.

The Region is also committed to finding about $792,000 in efficiencies in the coming year. “About $198,000 of that saving is expected to be found as a result of the implementation of Shared Services and group purchasing,” says Mrs. Cugnet.

“We are focused on reducing our costs areas that improve productivity, like sick time and overtime costs, so we can turn the savings into better care and better health promotion for the patients/residents/clients we serve,” she says.

Sun Country Health Region also continues to work toward construction of new health care facilities in Radville, Redvers and Kipling. Tenders are expected to be awarded for Radville and Redvers Health Centres by fall.

Sun Country Health Region’s budget plans will be forwarded to the Minister of Health for review and approval.

 Posted June 3.  

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