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PNHR hammers out $243M budget

Prairie North Regional Health Authority board members have approved a 2011-12 operating and capital budgets of over $243 million.

Prairie North Regional Health Authority board members have approved a 2011-12 operating and capital budgets of over $243 million.

"Investing in surgical care access, enhancing cardiac and cancer care, improving access to Primary Health Care delivery and supporting our health care providers are just some of the important priorities identified in this budget," said PNRHA chairperson Bonnie O'Grady.

"Over the past 12 months, the dedicated staff of this organization have committed to achieving efficiency targets that will allow us to further enhance services and address priority needs for the 2011-12 fiscal year."

The 2011-12 revenue and expenditure plan will create 33.05 new full-time equivalent positions in the region and entails almost $3.5 million in new initiatives. The plan directs the region to:

Implement the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, which will enable the region to perform the targeted additional 550 day surgeries and 10 inpatient surgeries in addition to the 5,100 surgeries already performed in PNHR each year.

Introduce specialized echocardiography services at Battlefords Union Hospital and Lloydminster Hospital.

Reduce the ultrasound wait list.

Develop a Behaviour Management Unit at Battlefords District Care Centre (BDCC).

Implement the Provincial Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in PNHR.

Enhance Mental Health Outpatient/Adult Community Programming in Lloydminster.

Improve regional awareness and education around Hand Hygiene as an Infection Prevention and Control initiative.

Implement recommendations in the Lloydminster Primary Health Care Review.

Promote cessation of tobacco use through PNHR's Tobacco and Smoke-Free Strategy.

Implement HIV Outreach/ Social Work initiatives under the provincial HIV Strategy.

Enhance recruitment and retention of physicians, and engagement of physicians.

Continue support of Quality Improvement programs such as Lean and Releasing Time to Care (RTC).

"PNHR is able to invest in these priorities as a result of both targeted funding from the Ministry of Health and by the over $1.6 million in savings and efficiencies that our staff are committed to achieve in the coming year," says David Fan, chief executive officer.

"Through the implementation of Shared Services and group purchasing, costs for laboratory, medical and surgical supplies, and drugs have been reduced, as have travel costs, and utility costs from our retrofit projects at BUH and Lloydminster Hospital."

"By focusing this past year on reducing costs in non-patient care related areas, such as sick time and overtime costs, we are able to re-invest those dollars into better care and better health initiatives for our patients, clients and residents. At the same time, we continue to provide supports for our staff and for quality improvement programs, such as Lean and RTC," Fan added.

PNHR has received a 12 per cent increase in base funding from the Ministry of Health, which includes the funding of salary increases for collective bargaining agreements with Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) as well as out-of-scope staff. Salaries and benefits for the Region's 3,163 employees plus medical remuneration and benefits account for 79.7 per cent of Prairie North's 2011-12 budget.

In addition to approving the operating budget, PNRHA Board members have also approved the 2011-2012 Capital Equipment Budget/ IT Plan and the 2011-2012 Capital Management Plan.

The Capital Equipment Budget/IT Plan of $4.9 million targets new technology and equipment to address quality and patient safety, including:

Additional surgical equipment to support the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative (SKSI) at Battlefords Union Hospital and Lloydminster Hospital;

Continued Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) implementation;

Surgical Information System (SIS) Project;

Integrated clinical systems;

Regional wireless infrastructure

The $7.3 million Capital Management Plan focuses on safety and infrastructure repairs and upgrades such as roofs, sidewalk repairs, minor security upgrades, water system upgrades, flooring and sewer line replacements, and others. Projects within the Capital Management Plan include the continued renovations at Lloydminster Hospital and PNHR offices at the Lloydminster Co-op Plaza ($2.8 million), roof repairs at River Heights Lodge ($900,000) and Loon Lake Health Centre ($150,000), and expansion of the Day Surgery Unit at BUH ($500,000).

A variety of other capital upgrading and maintenance projects and capital equipment purchases are planned for most PNHR facilities and sites to ensure that patient and staff safety, and infrastructure requirements are being met.

Prairie North also continues to work toward replacement of Northland Pioneers Lodge in Meadow Lake and is working with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Infrastructure to construct a new 60-bed long-term care facility on the Alberta side of Lloydminster to replace the oldest wing of Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre.

Prairie North's budget plans will now be forwarded to the Minister of Health for review and formal approval.

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