The Sun Country Regional Health Authority approved a balanced operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year during its regular meeting on May 28.
The budget calls for about $146 million in revenues, with $132.1 million, or 90.3 per cent, coming from the Ministry of Health. Supportive care fees are the next biggest revenue source, at more than $8.38 million, or 5.7 per cent. Revenues also include about $1.08 million (seven-tenths of a per cent) from other levels of government; about $2.2 million (1.5 per cent) from EMS recoveries; $436,000 (.3 per cent) from home care fees; and more than $2.1 million (1.5 per cent) from other fees and recoveries.
Expenses are pegged at $145.6 million, with acute and integrated care receiving the most money at $66.6 million, or 45.7 per cent. Community health services ($27.88 million, 19.1 per cent), physician and ambulatory care ($8.84 million, 6.1 per cent), diagnostics and therapeutics ($10.26 million; seven per cent), and support services ($32.05 million, 22 per cent) account for remaining expenses.
“The budget reflects some increases in contracts with primary health doctors, inflation and compensation increases,” said Sun Country CEO Marga Cugnet. “The region received approval for a cataract program that is expected to be launched in November. However, with additions and changes, we have also had to make efficiencies to achieve a break-even status.”
The approved operating budget also includes strategic initiative and efficiency priorities, meeting the Ministry of Health’s targets for optimizing the workforce, making best use of staff time, and sharing services.
“Although we received targeted increases, the region was also challenged to implement efficiencies in its operations,” said Cugnet.
“The use of lean techniques and initiatives has helped achieve this balanced budget without laying off staff. We are learning how to strategically bend the cost curve and still maintain or improve quality and services.”
Sun Country must continue to generate efficiencies in all areas to be able to fund strategic initiatives that benefit patients and residents, she said.
“Our operations are also being positively impacted by the improvement efforts underway by staff members and patient and family advisors who are working with us,” said Cugnet.
Please return to www.sasklifestyles.com later this week for more on the budget.
In other Sun Country news, the health region has announced that six more doctors have chosen to practice in the region. This is in addition to the 13 physicians who started last year.
“We are excited to bring these new medical practitioners into our region and our communities,” said Cugnet.
“With all of the recruitment work done in the region with our partners in the Ministry of Health, saskdocs, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, and the local communities, we have now reached our planned complement of doctors.”
Dr. Vijay Prabhu joined the Redvers Medical Clinic in late May. Dr. Hamidreza Shahbazibimesl will join the Arcola Family Health Clinic in the week of June 9.
Also, Dr. Jamshid Khak joined the Kipling Primary Health Clinic in late May; Dr. Joy Igbinovia and Dr. Efosa Igbinovia both started practicing at the Weyburn Health Centre, also in late May; and Dr. Hany Abdelsaied will be at the Radville Medical Clinic in the week of June 2.
“The goal for SCHR and our neighbours going forward will be to embrace these doctors and keep them with us for a long time to come,” said Cugnet. “Retention of the doctors is as important as the original recruitment process.
“Surveys conducted by saskdocs during 2012 indicated that family, location/lack of amenities and work-life balance are the primary reasons that doctors leave a practice. We need to make sure the families of our doctors as well as the doctors are comfortable and welcomed.”