Highlights of the January 30 meeting of Sun Country Regional Health Authority (RHA):
*RHA member Vernon Palmer has resigned, as he has moved out of the region. Palmer was a resident of Coronach. Board chair Marilyn Charlton thanked Palmer for his nine years of service with the health authority.
*All 17 improvement projects selected for the 2012-13 fiscal year are on target. All but two will be completed by the March 31, 2013 deadline. The improvement projects include increasing access to primary health care teams for the public; reducing the number of injuries from falls in long-term and acute care facilities; decreasing the number of infections resulting from surgeries; creating a medication reconciliation program for all patient transfers and discharges; initiating a program to help acute care staff provide care to patients and families in psychological distress; starting a single point of entry for patient transfers; reducing health care-associated infections by improving compliance with hand hygiene and environmental cleaning; creating programs to reduce workplace injuries; providing more training for management; training leadership in Lean concepts; having electronic pay stubs for staff; and creating a province-wide paperless system for job applications. All of the projects are intended to reduce the costs and time associated with non-patient care so more resources can be directed to patient care.
*All ambulances will soon be equipped with an automatic vehicle location transponder, which should improve response time. The cost per unit to the Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) is about $1,000. The Ministry of Health will provide the monthly operating costs.
*The SCHR has recently hired five registered nurses (RNs), four licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and two out of scope staff members. Resignations in the same time period included six RNs, four LPNs, one mental health therapist, one combined lab/x-ray technologist and one out of scope staff member.
*The region has six doctors entered into the assessment program created by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan. If all six are accepted, it is anticipated they will be ready to practice in May. Two have chosen to open practices in Weyburn. The others have chosen Estevan, Arcola, Oxbow and Kipling.
*A regulation change from the Saskatchewan government’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, which came into effect on January 1, authorizes occupational health officers to issue fines for non-compliance with the act. In SCHR, up to 600 designated staff members will require training on the new procedures this year.
*The Workers Compensation Board has awarded the SCHR a certificate of achievement to recognize reduced work-related injuries and associated costs. The achievement is primarily the result of a revised return to work program and should save the region $60,000 this year.
*About 70 per cent of SCHR staff received the flu vaccine this year to protect themselves, their patients/residents/clients and their families from contracting the flu. That is among the highest numbers in the province.
*A speech language pathologist (SLP) for children, and an assistant, are providing services to 75 children in Estevan and Weyburn. A wait list of 59 children should be eliminated when another SLP is hired.