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New nursing home group takes new approach

They are switching tactics and making another bid with an expectation they can perhaps move the process along a little more quickly and efficiently. “We are making one last pitch.
Nursing Home
The Estevan Regional Nursing Home, the original structure is about 50 years old.

They are switching tactics and making another bid with an expectation they can perhaps move the process along a little more quickly and efficiently. 

“We are making one last pitch. We have contracted MNP (accountancy and business advisory group) to put together a business plan for us that might attract some attention,” said Don Kindopp, referring to local and regional efforts to build a new Estevan Regional Nursing Home to serve long-term care residents. 

Kindopp, chairman of the New Regional Nursing Home committee, said the local obligation of raising 20 per cent of the total expected cost of a new nursing home was achieved over a year ago and donations continue to trickle in. 

“Our committee has decided to defer from the traditional plan,” said Kindopp. 

MNP has posted a second draft of the plan and Kindopp said they expect a final recommendation will be completed in time to take to the Ministry of Health and Sun Country Health Region before the provincial government begins their serious budget deliberations in September. 

“We’d like to be at the head of the line this time, in terms of letting them know we have a plan they might be interested in this time,” he said. “It’s something to entice them. Traditionally, we’d wait for Sun Country, which is something we have done, then we wait for a green light to start planning and all that could take five to eight years before we could get to a construction phase.” 

The committee chairman said the idea is to encourage the people who are, in effect, in a position to issue that green light, to move on it more quickly by tossing in a few proposals such as alternate financing and planning. 

“I’m not sure what MNP’s final business plan proposals will be but we have studied other projects in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta where governments didn’t have to go out and borrow a mass amount of money, but it eventually is financed by them. They pay it off over time and someone else assumes the debt,” Kindopp said. 

The committee chairman said that is just one example of what is meant by alternate funding. 

He said an original meeting with Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit, left them with the impression that government would be conducive to looking at alternate plans. 

“What has to be clear though, is that the provincial government is ultimately responsible for 80 per cent of the cost and the facility is to be owned by the people of Saskatchewan and operated by a responsible health authority, whatever that becomes in the future, because we’re not sure what the government is planning when they keep talking about this upcoming transformational change in health governance,” said Kindopp. 

“This will not be a private deal, but a plan that we hope will get the government to move more quickly,” he added. “We have to do something. We earned some interest on the money collected and the MNP plan is going to cost somewhere around $30,000 to get the report assembled. We checked in with our major stakeholders such as the participating rural municipalities and the word we received from them was that not doing anything would be neglectful. We needed to do something.”

The Sun Country Regional Health Authority is currently dealing not only with the need for a new nursing home in Estevan, but also a new hospital for the city of Weyburn. That community has also raised the majority of their funds and they are waiting for a green light to proceed with that project. The Weyburn hospital remains as their priority item at the conference table.