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Thursday, 26 May 2011 17:14

Cypress approves balanced budget

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The Cypress Regional Health Authority (CRHA) has approved a balanced operating budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year that is reflective of the regions vision and values, and focuses on the Ministry of Health's provincial health priorities and their strategic and operational directions. 

Cypress Health's approved operating budget for 2011-12 will result in a planned balance of revenues and expenditures totaling $121 million. When compared to the 2010-11 approved operating budget, an increase of $9.87 million or 8.9 per cent was realized in the new operating plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The majority of the increase represents collective bargaining agreement adjustments with the regions unionized staff. 

Cypress Regional Health Authority Chairperson Tyler Bragg was pleased that the region was able to achieve a balanced operating budget but realizes that it will require constant monitoring throughout the year.

"This investment in health care within the region will  equate to spending $331,245 per day on program and service delivery," said Bragg. "We are aware that we continue to face a variety of financial pressures, but we will continue to direct our available resources towards the provision of high quality health services to our clients and emphasize safety for our team of health providers and the general public."

Provincial funding accounts for 91.5 per cent of the total operating revenue for the health region's budget. The remainder of operating revenue will be realized from long-term care and home care fees, third party charges, and other miscellaneous recoveries. 

Overall, 41per cent ($49.3 million) of funding goes toward acute care/hospital services. Another 37 per cent ($45.0 million) is spent on long term care services, and 18 per cent ($21.6 million) for home care, public health, mental health/addictions and other community-based services. The health region spends $98.3 million (81 per cent of approved budget) on  salaries and benefits for its 1,700 employees and medical services remuneration.

The region's approved operational plan includes strategic initiatives that will invest in identified priorities, meet Ministry targets for attendance support management and general efficiencies, and address the sustainability of existing programs and services. The plan allows for:

• Investment to support the province's Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative which will target an additional 100 inpatient surgeries and 100 day surgeries, plus additional supportive home care and rehabilitation programming;

• Enhancing capacity for quality improvement programs such as Lean, Releasing Time to Care (RTC), patient safety and accreditation;

• Investments in staffing including public health inspection, pharmacy technician, information technology, physician leadership, diagnostic imaging, and occupational health and safety. 

"Cypress Health is able to invest in these identified priorities as a result of targeted funding from the Ministry of Health, the commitment of our dedicated staff members in achieving targeted savings and efficiencies, and the reduction of four management positions," stated Beth Vachon, chief executive officer.  "Collective efforts in reducing expenditures in areas that do not directly affect patient care, including the costs of sick time and overtime, have allowed for the reinvestment of these resources into priority areas."

Vachon added that the achievement of a balanced operating budget is only one phase of the overall financial strategy for the health region.

"A balanced budget is a tremendous first step, but we must continually generate efficiencies to invest in capital infrastructure/equipment, improve our working capital, and to invest in best practices where possible," she said. "We must be aware of the pressures that exist relating to long-term sustainability of services and system capacities."

The 2011-12 operational budget was approved at the Cypress Regional Health Authority's regular monthly meeting on May 26.  It will be forwarded to the Minister of Health for the Ministrys review and formal approval. 

The Cypress Health Region's team of 1,700 staff and physicians offers quality health care programs and services in a variety of community and facility-based settings. They provide services to over 44,000 residents in 80 urban and rural municipalities.

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