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 projected expenses.
“We're very pleased that we're able to submit a balanced budget to the Ministry (of Health),” said CEO Marga Cugnet.
Sun Country was able to balance the budget without any significant changes to programs, and without layoffs for staff or management.
“It's through really looking at efficiencies, whether we can look at efficiencies through some of the lean work that we're doing, targeting our absenteeism management program, or seeing if we can reduce overtime needs,” said Cugnet. “Especially with our recruitment being more progressive, and being able to fill positions.”
One new service will be added to Sun Country this year. An ophthalmologist is interested in coming from Regina to Weyburn to perform cataract surgery.
Cugnet is hopeful that it will begin in the fall.
However, the surgeries won't be available in Estevan.
“This will certainly help Estevan people,” said Cugnet. “They can travel a quick hour into Weyburn, and not have to worry about parking and all the other issues that they have to deal with if they go to Regina or any other city.”
Cugnet said it is a tight budget, and staff and management will have to keep a close eye on expenses during the year.
A capital budget has also been approved, but figures won't be released. Cugnet said the capital needs far outweigh the funding provided by the Ministry of Health.
She did say that two ambulances will be replaced this year, which is part of an annual program. Lab equipment has to be replaced as well, and equipment will be needed for the cataract program.
The budget will now be sent to the Ministry of Health for approval.