The proposed change to ambulance fees in the 2018 provincial budget will not have an effect on the bottom line of the regional health authority, a senior official with Prairie Mountain Health says.
The Manitoba government plans to reduce ambulance fees from $425 to $340, following through on a promise Premier Brian Pallister made during the election campaign almost two years ago to cut fees down by half. Last year, fees dropped from $522 to $475.
"What Manitoba Health has done is for anything that we would lose in terms of ambulance fee revenue because of that reduction, they have given us (the) corresponding amount in our base budget, based on the averages for the past years," said vice-president of finance Brian Schoonbaert.
"In fact, the province is indeed funding the difference based on what the fees used to be to what they will be now."
The province released its 2018 budget on Monday, which includes additional funding for the Home Cancer Drug program, rare disease drugs, dialysis treatment, and the creation of 60 new full-time paramedic positions.
Schoonbaert said he was glad to see some of these specific items mentioned in the budget, particularly the announcement of additional funding for dialysis, but he said the regional health authority won’t know exactly how much of it will go to PMH until it has received more detailed funding documents.
"For ’18-’19, we still don’t know our exact funding amount and that might be a few weeks away before we get that information," he said.
Schoonbaert said PMH will try to have an initial budget ready by April.
Last year, the province directed the RHAs to cut management positions by 15 per cent and in January, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen hinted at further cuts, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the RHAs were asked to make reductions again.
Schoonbaert said he has not heard about any management reductions from the province.
"Prairie Mountain Health made the 15 per cent management reduction. We’re not expecting to receive anything in addition to that and there’s been no indication to us that we should be expecting that."
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