Reductions in overtime, orientation help to reduce costs
Numbers aren’t always the most exciting subject, but when Saskatoon Health Region’s June 2013 financial results were released, they were more exciting than they have been in a while.

“June was a good month,” says Ron Balezantis, director of financial planning and advisory services for Saskatoon Health Region.

The Region’s year-to-date deficit – or variance from the budget – at the end of June was about $574,000, compared to $1.612 million in May, and compared to more than $5.3 million at the same time last year.

Even with a reduction of the budgetary gap, the Region is still in a deficit position, primarily due to variances in salary costs and increased service pressures. “The salary variances come mostly from pressures in Integrated Health Services and related support departments, so it’s overcapacity issues and things like that,” says Balezantis. “The other volume pressure is in the home care nursing units, where there has been an increase of 4,205 visits or 7.2 per cent over last year.”

“Our sick hours compared to last year are actually down 1.4 per cent compared to last year,” adds Balezantis, “but this is still not enough to meet our target. However we’re doing very well in overtime and orientation.” Orientation hours are down 36.3 percent from the same time last year and overtime hours have decreased by 25.6 per cent and slightly ahead of the target for this year.

Aug_7_budgetPosition optimization – a process where managers submit requests to post vacant positions or to reduce costs by reviewing staff hours or complements – is also demonstrating savings. As of July 30, the potential savings vetted through this process is nearly $3.5 million. The target for the full fiscal year is to find an $18.7 million reduction in salary costs which account for 78 per cent of the Region’s budget.

The Region implemented strategies to eliminate a $34 million gap. The goal is to achieve a balanced budget by year end and keep the numbers exciting.