Sask. government hopes to save $20M with move to single health authority

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January 10, 2017 - 1:56pm Updated: January 10, 2017 - 4:47pm
Saskatchewan taxpayers could save $10 million to $20 million by 2018-19 when12 health regions authorities amalgamate into one large board.
FIle photo/650 CKOM
Saskatchewan taxpayers could save $10 million to $20 million by 2018-19 when12 health regions authorities amalgamate into one large board.

The provincial government predicts it will save between $10 million to $20 million by consolidating 12 existing health regions into a single authority.
 
Health Minister Jim Reiter said Tuesday the savings would be expected to kick in by 2018-19.
 
"Every dollar we can save can certainly be put to good use in the health care system," Reiter said.
Eliminating the need for several senior executive positions is one way the new board could reduce costs.
 
But the government still doesn't know how much it will  save after severance pay outs.
"There are currently 12 CEO's and 62 vice-presidents in our health regions. Once we have a firm determination of severance costs and on-going executive salary savings, we will provide an update," Reiter said.
Reiter says they expect to have the new board in place by this fall, but an exact date hasn't been set.
 
"Alberta did this a number of years ago and while I think it's working fairly well now, they had some difficult growing pains and part of the reason was that they rushed the transition," Reiter said.
 
Reiter said the province expects savings of about $700,000 a year in board governance costs and about $9 million on information technology.
The Athabasca Health Authority, in the far north, is to remain intact.

'Completely backwards'

The Saskatchewan NDP is responding to the province’s projection it will save millions of dollars by combining health authorities.

"They're cutting 12 health regions and didn't have any numbers, didn't have any facts a week ago and yet, today, they start producing numbers. That is completely backwards," said Danielle Chartier, the Saskatchewan NDP health critic.

Chartier said the government should have made a detailed plan – complete with important answers – ahead of last week’s announcement to avoid speculation and concern.  

"How much money it was going to save – if it was going to save any money at all,” she said.

“Whose jobs were going to be lost? All those kinds of things. How it's going to impact patient care. If you're going to embark on this kind of plan, you should at least have those answers for the people of your province."

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