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PMH pleased with its progress

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It has been five years since the three health regions of Assiniboine, Brandon and Parkland merged to form Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) and 2016-17 marked the first year of the new strategic plan for the health region.
PMH presented the 2016-17 annual report at its annual general meeting (AGM) in Clear Lake, Oct. 19.
Penny Gilson, PMH CEO reported the health region ended the year with a slight surplus of $120,000.
The consolidated statement of operations for PMH listed a revenue of $623,150,000 and expenses of $$623,030,000.
A chart dividing expenditure by program demonstrated the greatest expense was in acute care at 40.8 per cent, with personal care home service second, at almost half that amount, or 22.6 per cent.
“I think there was lots accomplished in 2016-17. I think we always acknowledge that we have ongoing challenges, probably in particular, around human resource recruitment and retention. Our efforts need to be continuous and relentless,” Gilson said.
She shared positive news regarding staff positions recruited to various communities, initiatives around the mobile clinic to improve access to service and some of the harm reduction activity that have happened in the region.
The report noted the mobile clinic was Manitoba’s first, initially visiting seven sites in 2014.
Staffed with a nurse practitioner, a community health nurse and a driver, the clinic added two more communities to its schedule and now provides service five days a week.
The report stated PMH launched a program to distribute free Naloxone kits in 2016-17, which were available at the 7th Street Health Access Centre and Public Health Sexual Health programs in Brandon, the Camperville Primary Health Care Centre and Waterhen Primary Health Care Centre, plus Public Health offices in Dauphin, Roblin and Swan River.
The report also noted several capital projects across the region, which are in varying stages of completion.
Two of the larger projects include a $13.75 million redevelopment project at the Brandon Regional Health Centre and a $23 million redevelopment of the emergency department and special care unit at Dauphin Regional Health Centre.
PMH is working with the province to determine how to deliver services in the most cost effective way, Gilson said.
“And in a way that will ensure that the health system is sustainable,” she added.
The health region has done a lot already to achieve some efficiencies, Gilson noted, such as management streamlining in June, which reduced management positions by 15 per cent.
“We’ve also taken advantage of any vacancies that we have in the system. To take a really critical look at those vacancies, as to whether or not they need to be replaced,” she said, noting the review is for all areas of the operation, but in particular, an area called back office operational budgets.
“So our finance, our human resource, our information communications, technology departments got reductions to their budgets and we’re expected to live within the reduced budgets.”
In many cases, Gilson explained, reduction is managed through attrition, noting as vacancies happen, PMH assesses how it can do the service differently by reducing costs.
“Just lots of work happening around trying to be as cost effective as we can, as efficient as we can, while still delivering a high-quality service to our patients, residents and clients,” she said.
To date, Gilson added, PMH has been focussing on the administrative side of the operation, to find efficiencies.
Looking to the future, PMH will be working with Shared Health Services Manitoba (SHSM), she said, with a large portion of the work focussing on clinical and preventative services planning for the province.
Guest speaker Dr. Brock Wright discussed SHSM, which is a new organization taking effect Apr. 1, 2018.
“So where should certain clinical services be provided, how should they be co-ordinated and aligned provincially,” Gilson explained, noting the province has asked PMH to name representatives to various clinical teams, to determine how SHSM will co-ordinate and manage services provincially.
“As well as, if we are having challenges, for example, in Prairie Mountain and there is support within Winnipeg that can assist with that challenge, how can we leverage that as a province.”
As a result, Gilson anticipates a lot of work will be done over the next couple of years on assessing clinical services.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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