Financial update shows surplus for Cypress Health Region

Written by  Matthew Libenberg
Financial update shows surplus for Cypress Health Region

The Cypress Health Region is forecasting a surplus at the end of the 2014/15 financial year.

Cypress Health Region Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President Corporate Services Larry Allsen provided a financial update at the Cypress Regional Health Authority meeting March 11.

The health region’s financial results until the end of January indicates there will be a surplus of $3,067,000. This is an increase over December’s forecast of a $2.2 million surplus.

“We are forecasting our salaries to be under budget by $2.3 million, which is a change of about $400,000 from December,” he said.

These savings on salaries as a result of vacancies will also result in additional savings of $50,000 on benefits.

Various other items, including a correction on their forecast for $100,000 in insurance cost savings, will assist the health region to achieve a surplus for the 2014/15 financial year.

“We’re fairly confident that we’ll be at least $3.1 million,” he said.

According to Cypress Health Region CEO Beth Vachon, a year-end surplus is always a good position to be in for the health region.

“That’s always good to know that you’ve got that cushion for purchasing and replacing needed equipment,” she said. “We know that we always have pieces of equipment that are requiring replacement.

She added  there are also ongoing maintenance requirements at the different health care facilities in the health region.

“We’ve got a lot of roofs in this region that from time to time need repairs and flooring wears out, and bathtubs need to be replaced,” she said. “We feel fairly confident that we’re in a good position and with our three capital projects well under way there are no big gaps that we have this upcoming budget.”

Progress with capital projects in Maple Creek and Leader

Vachon provided an update on the progress with the capital projects in Maple Creek and Leader.

The health region has started to move furnishings and equipment into the acute care portion of the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek and into the primary health care clinic. Work is continuing to complete the remaining portions of the facility, including the long-term care areas, for example the installation of flooring and the final coat of paint.

“So once they get all of that stuff done then we’ll be able to actually start moving in our furnishings and it will start to very much look like a home,” she said. “All of our equipment and everything is ready to go. We’ve got it all within the region. We’re storing it in a few places because we were delayed in actually moving it in when our vendors dropped it off. So we’re on the homestretch here and it’s very exciting.”

She is expecting the move into the new Maple Creek facility will happen in early summer, although no firm date has yet been set.
There is also ongoing progress with the project planning for the new integrated facility in Leader. The schematic design phase started in February and the next step during March will be the design development phase.

During the meeting the board approved the architectural services contract, which has been awarded to the firm abodt architecture and interior design. The value of the architectural contract is about $800,000.

The total cost of the Leader project is $9.7 million and construction is expected to start in the fall. The new facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

“It’s not a big project, but there’s still lots of work that needs to be done out there and getting everything up and running,” she said.

Cypress assists with first-responder training

The Cypress Health Region will provide assistance with first-responder training in three communities during March and April.
The health region will cover some of the cost of the 40-hour Red Cross first-responder training in Eastend, Morse and Ponteix. It will also provide financial support through local municipal offices to set up a first-responder community team.

“We’ve had first-responder programs in the past,” Vachon said. “This is a volunteer position, so people come in and out of those kinds of volunteer programs. … Circumstances often change for people. So every now and again we need to do a good refresh and offer this opportunity and just rejuvenate our group of volunteers who are willing to put in the kind of hours that might sometimes be required.”

She noted first responders play an important role in the rural areas of southwest Saskatchewan to provide life-saving skills such as CPR in emergency situations while an ambulance is still on its way.

“The value of this is that they know their communities, they know those grid roads, they know where people’s farms are, and so they’re and integral part of emergency services in rural communities,” she said.

via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post

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