The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s annual report includes a consolidated deficit of $28.7 million and a net debt at the end of the 2018-19 year at just over $453.1 million.
Chief Operating Officer Suann Laurent says you can’t really compare this past year to the previous one, because that was the year that the 12 Health Authorities amalgamated into one, and it was just a partial year as the SHA.
She considers the budget their biggest challenge. Laurent says they take very seriously the task of making sure resources are managed in an effective way, because these are public dollars.
Some of the ways they are doing that are workforce optimization, and operational efficiencies and standardizations.
Among the goals in the report are reducing the time for patients in the hospital when the most appropriate care is elsewhere, reducing admissions to hospitals through outpatient and community-based services, and improving access to mental health and addiction services.
Laurent points to the new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford as a step forward in that regard. The old hospital had 156 beds and the new complex has 284, including 188 psychiatric rehabilitation beds and a secure wing for those involved in the criminal justice system who have mental health issues.