April 17, 2001

Year Four in a Regional Health System Begins in Winnipeg with Community Service Expansions and Balanced Budgets

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority 2001/02 operational plan was announced today, at Nine Circles Health Centre, with the emphasis placed on stabilizing and expanding community services.

"Within our budget this year we have about $12.6 million in discretionary funding," says Patti Sullivan, Board Chair. "This allowed us to determine some of our own priorities, based on the needs that have been expressed to us. As a result, we have increased funding to community agencies by approximately 11%; to personal care homes by approximately 8% and to hospitals by approximately 4.5%."

For the second year in a row, the Health Authority has provided budgets to the hospitals, personal care homes, community agencies and programs in April, rather then in Fall, which was the historical pattern.

"We just finished an operational plan where each program, service and agency presented their plans and needs for the coming year," said Dr. Brian Postl, CEO. "Our decisions around funding were based on those presentations, and the knowledge that for the last three years, the hospital sector has been funded to match their previous deficits and the personal care home sector saw the construction of 600 new beds. While each sector required some funding adjustments for inflation and other non-discretionary costs, the community sector was clearly the area which needed to be addressed."

The increases in funding will support more staff positions in community agencies to cope with increased demands for services, in some instances it will expand the space where services are provided. Manitoba Health recently announced support for the development of Health Access Centres in River East, Transcona and NorWest, and Federal/Provincial funding was recently announced for new diagnostic equipment in the acute care sector and new computers for community and long term care.

"All of these initiatives fit very well into the Vision and Mission statements recently released by the Board in our Report to the Community," added Sullivan. "Providing better access to care and services, wherever they are needed in the City, is one of the ways we can really make a difference."

Nine Circles Community Health Centre received over $300,000. in new funding for more nursing, mental health, advocacy and clerical staff, as well as increased supply costs to help meet the service demand. They will also receive funding to address costs associated with their amalgamation.

As of April 1st, the governance and program development responsibilities for needle exchange and distribution program that was operated through Mount Carmel Clinic was transferred into the Regional Health Authority. This took place in response to a report released last August by Mount Carmel Clinic recommending that such a transfer take place. Also as of April 1st, Winnipeg Hospitals Laundry Limited and Selkirk Linen Services amalgamated into Logistics Services.

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