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WRHA announces manage to budget initiatives

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In response to the provincial mandate issued in February of 2017, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has committed to saving $83 million and balancing its budget in the 2017/18 fiscal year. The savings initiatives announced today keep the WRHA on track to successfully fulfill those mandates.

"The savings initiatives identified within both clinical and non-clinical services will allow us to ensure the long term security of our health system without compromising the care we provide to Manitobans," said Cloutier.

The savings initiatives announced today include:

Clinical initiatives

Staffing - Models of Care

As the Healing our Health System plan - announced in April, 2017 - is implemented, patients will be grouped together based on acuity. This will allow the region to better match staffing levels to patient populations and ensure the provision of the most appropriate care. Patient grouping will result in the implementation of new staffing ratios, as well as changes to current staffing rotations and the location of work in various care units across the region.

Based on assessments conducted by KPMG in the Health System Sustainability and Innovation Review, staffing levels in the region are higher than other Canadian jurisdictions. The WRHA will focus on staffing ratios and staff mix to optimize staff resources. Changes to patient-staff ratios will be coordinated to ensure that changes are made deliberately, concentrating efforts on one site at a time.

The WRHA remains confident that jobs will be available to nurses who wish to remain in the WRHA system.

Service Shifts

Access Centres will extend their clinic hours to accommodate patients in need of clinical services and who cannot wait for an appointment with their family physician. Changes to Access Centre hours will begin in January of 2018 and will include some early morning and evening hours.

Primary care services at QuickCare Clinics on Vermillion Rd., Portage Ave., Jefferson Ave., and Dakota St. will be redirected to other primary care options in the surrounding area of each clinic by the end of January, 2018. Resources from those QuickCare Clinics, including many staff, will also be redeployed to existing Access Centres as part of this transition.

The QuickCare Clinic on McGregor St. will remain open to address care needs of vulnerable members of the community in that area. Transitioning care from the other four sites to existing capacity within the WRHA will save over $900,000.

Additional changes include:

Fee Changes

To bring WRHA in-line with fees charged across the country for specific programs, WRHA is undertaking fee changes for three services within the long-term care program:

Non-clinical initiatives

Food Services

Across WRHA, food service is provided to a number of community hospitals and care facilities, including Victoria Hospital, Riverview Health Centre and Misericordia Place, by a Regional Distribution Facility (RDF). The RDF provides 8,000 customized meals each day and caters to 97 different types of diets including low-sodium, soft-texture and gluten intolerance. Menus are designed to meet Canada's Food Guide and include cultural food preferences ranging from bannock and caribou to Kosher and East Indian dishes.

Beginning this October, residents and patients at Middlechurch Home will be added to the distribution of the RDF and receive all meals exclusively from the facility. Deer Lodge Centre residents - who already receive two meals daily from the RDF - will receive all meals from the RDF.

Additionally, Grace Hospital retail food services will be transferred to an external provider at Grace Hospital.

Other non-clinical initiatives

These range from supply management and facilities management changes to optimizing information and technology options.

The changes announced today, along with the expenditure reductions identified in the Healing our Health System Plan, will bring the WRHA to its goal of $83 million in expenditure reductions for the fiscal year ahead.