Saskatoon Health Region faced a challenging financial situation in 2013-2014 and met the challenge successfully.

Despite a $34 million shortfall and 20,000 additional patient days in hospital, the Region achieved a $1.3 million surplus by the end of the year – the equivalent of operating the entire Region for about one-third of one day.

“Employees, care providers and leaders worked very hard this year to combat our large shortfall and still provide exceptional care for patients,” says Saskatoon Health Region’s Vice President Finance and Corporate Services Nilesh Kavia. “We met this challenge without resorting to layoffs, which could have resulted in more than 300 people losing their jobs to save this amount.” Human resources account for approximately 80 per cent of the Region’s expenditures.

2014-15 budget approved

Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services, Nilesh Kavia (left) presents the new budget to the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority meeting.

Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services, Nilesh Kavia (left) presents the new budget to the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority meeting.

At the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority meeting on May 21, 2014, Kavia presented the 2014-15 budget – another balanced budget – which includes total operating funds of $1.14 billion, including a spending increase of $43.8 million in expenditures ($20.7 million for collective bargaining increases). It also includes a plan to again reduce or avoid costs by $30 million, generate a modest surplus to begin repaying accumulated deficit and invest in capital and infrastructure projects.

The savings and cost avoidance initiatives proposed for 2014-2015 include:

  • Managing volume increases through patient flow, length of stay and additional bed capacity ($17.4M)
  • Managing supplies through provincial procurement ($2.0M)
  • Resource demand optimization ($3.4M)
  • Rapid process improvement replication ($1.2M)
  • Position optimization ($6.0M)

Infrastructure a priority

Infrastructure sustainability remains a priority for Saskatoon Health Region, and the 2014-2015 capital budget invests approximately $59 million in capital and infrastructure projects:

  • Infrastructure = $41.7 million
  • Information technology and eHealth = $10.4 million
  • Equipment and renovations = $6.8 million

These investments include improvements at Parkridge Centre, lab and pharmacy upgrades, the long term care urgent action fund and a multi-million dollar energy performance contract.

Watch a media interview about the budget.

“Our budget this year is aligned with our strategy to meet emergency department wait times and other strategic targets,” adds Kavia. “We have an achievable budget and savings strategy for 2014-2015, but this will be a very challenging year.”