Budget includes nurse hours for Lloyd

By Geoff Lee

July 28, 2016 12:00 AM

The Prairie North Regional Health Authority approved its 2016-17 operating budget of $286.3 million Monday, the final day to submit it to the Government of Saskatchewan.
The new budget, delayed by three months due to the Saskatchewan general election, includes a projection of $36.7 million in revenue from Alberta Health Services to cover Lloydminster health services.
“It’s fair to say at this point we have no indication of funding for 2016-17 from Alberta yet,” said PNHRA CEO David Fan, from a teleconference in North Battleford.
“It’s still something that’s under discussion, but we need to plug in the numbers, so we are using our best guess to build our budget for 2016-17.”
The new budget covers the PNHRA’s priorities of seniors care, primary healthcare, mental health and addictions services and acute care.
The operating budget is an $8 million increase over last year, but essentially maintains the status quo since most of the increase is directly related to union agreements, physician fee increases and inflation.
The budget includes approximately $287 million in operating revenue including long-term care residency fees, home care fee and donations.
The operating expenses are $286 million with a net surplus of about $7,000 after $812,000 in mortgage payments to older long term care facilities. “So it is essentially a balanced budget that we are putting forward for approval,” said Fan. 
Nearly 80 per cent of the budget is allocated to salaries and benefits and physician remuneration.
Additional expenses include grants to organizations like Bea Fisher Enterprises Inc. in Lloydminster and regional WPD Ambulances services.
The budget will fund increased hours for a licensed practical nurse position at the Lloydminster Jubilee Home long-term care facility from PNRHA’s share of $448,000 in administrative cost reallocations from Saskatchewan.
That money will fund a total of 5.8 full time equivalent positions at eight of the region’s 12 long-term care facilities.
Fan called it a tough year, but no different from prior years with balanced budgets in 13 of his 14 years as CEO.
“There is next to no new money to introduce new programming, but it’s important to point out that at the Battlefords (Union) Hospital, we are currently undertaking an expansion to the dialysis unit,” he said.
He noted the $600,000 in capital renovation for that project came from last year’s budget.
This year’s operating budget contains an additional $384,000 to support expansion of the service from six to nine chairs increasing the number of patients served by 50 per cent to 36 patients a week.
Funds are being allocated internally to improve respiratory therapy services at Battlefords Union Hospital and Lloydminster hospitals.
The board also approved capital expenditures of $2.9 million on renovations and upgrades to its facilities including patient safety and security systems.
It also approved $4.4 million on new and replacement equipment including the replacement of the nurse call system at Jubilee Home.
The capital budget includes $482,675 for information technology upgrades.

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