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Tories set $17.5M 'savings target' for Prairie Mountain Health region

The province has tasked Prairie Mountain Health with a "savings target" of $17.5 million.

CEO Penny Gilson confirmed PMH, like the other health regions in Manitoba, has been asked to find multimillion-dollar efficiencies in 2017-18.

"PMH will be reviewing all options relative to achieving this target and will take into consideration any recommendations coming forward through the Health Sustainability and Innovation Review," Gilson said in a statement. "PMH staff have been working diligently on finding savings opportunities since before this target was received and will continue all efforts in this regard."

Ongoing strategies, Gilson explained, include reducing discretionary expenditures such as travel, vacancy management, any opportunity to reduce waste/duplication, and utilizing negotiated contracts which provide best price for supplies.

"PMH is committed to the goals of health system sustainability and fiscal accountability and will be exploring all options needed to achieve these goals going forward," Gilson said.

The NDP released a statement Thursday, calling on the provincial government to be more transparent about the health-care cuts.

"The Pallister government has ordered regional health authorities to make deep cuts but has refused to tell families what those cuts will be. We call on the premier to be honest and tell families exactly what services will be cut and who will be affected," stated Health critic Matt Wiebe. "The need for health care is growing and the Pallister government is asking the impossible of the doctors, nurses and hospitals that serve families. The only way to immediately cut costs is to lay off doctors and nurses, close health-care centres and reduce services. The premier has to stop pretending otherwise."

But Brandon East Progressive Conservative MLA Len Isleifson said the savings targets are determined by consulting with people in the industry, and are "very viable."

"Personally I don’t want to see anything that’s going to impact front line services … I don’t see that being at that stage," Isleifson said. "I see this as an opportunity to investigate internally to see what opportunities they can come up with in helping the overall future here in Manitoba."

The Northern Health Region has been asked to find $6 million in savings, and according to spokesperson Twyla Storey, they have already begun to prepare strategies and proposals to achieve this goal.

"With the direction from government, we will achieve that target through any number of strategies with focus on providing only funded, insured services and providing those services in the most efficient manner," Storey said. "We appreciate the difficult financial situation that we, as a province find ourselves and we will do our part in meeting our mandate."

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has been tasked with an $83 million reduction. They are currently reviewing several initiatives, including overtime reduction, vacancy management and reduction of duplication across the region.

"We continue to focus on realistic, meaningful transformation of the health system to address budget issues while retaining our focus on high quality care, implementing and sustaining best practice, and providing equitable care," according to WRHA spokesperson. "We remain committed to improving healthcare for our patients and their families and creating a system that is safe, accountable and effective."

Provincial spokeswoman Amy McGuinness said in an emailed statement they expect all health regions to "take the steps necessary to provide patients with quality care while balancing the need to ensure that their operations are managed in a way that is sustainable in the long term.

"The financial challenges faced by our government cannot be understated, especially as the federal share of health care funding continues to erode. Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has made significant progress in its effort to find savings throughout the department and we anticipate the regions will reciprocate these efforts."

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @jillianaustin

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 3, 2017

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This is scandalous! Shame on the PC Government to cut deep on the backs of the most vulnerable! Cutting nurses, doctors and facilities and services is not the way to save money.... Again, we'll cut money and then have to overspend to recuperate the loss! SHAME!

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The province has tasked Prairie Mountain Health with a "savings target" of $17.5 million.

CEO Penny Gilson confirmed PMH, like the other health regions in Manitoba, has been asked to find multimillion-dollar efficiencies in 2017-18.

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The province has tasked Prairie Mountain Health with a "savings target" of $17.5 million.

CEO Penny Gilson confirmed PMH, like the other health regions in Manitoba, has been asked to find multimillion-dollar efficiencies in 2017-18.

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