Job cuts part of the HSN ’18/’19 budget

Implementation of the approved budget will not begin until NELHIN conducts by a third
party validation of the approved budget as well as a systemic review of the pressures the
health system is experiencing.

The Board of Directors of Health Sciences North (HSN) has approved a
$505.8 million budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that includes no bed closures and a $1.4
million increase in clinical departments including a new pain management clinic.

To get there, a number of efficiencies were identified including:
* 113 fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) positions returning to pre-2010 levels;
* 37 fewer FTEs in management/non-unionized positions
* 76 fewer FTEs in unionized positions;
* $6.9 million reduction in program expenses outside clinical departments;
* 23% reduction to the capital budget for renovations, equipment, information technology.

Board Chair Nicole Everest says the hospital board would hopes to deal with many of the job
reductions through attrition and retirements. For example, 184 HSN employees are eligible for
an unreduced pension by 2019.

Last week, the Chairs of the four Northeastern Ontario hub hospitals (HSN, North Bay, Sault
Ste. Marie, and Timmins) co-signed a letter to the NELHIN Board Chair, initiated by the Timmins
and District Hospital. It outlined their concerns about their hospitals’ “ability to respond to our
patients’ healthcare needs while facing financial positions that are consistently precarious”.
They pointed out their four hospitals “struggle to deliver diverse and high quality services in a
fiscal environment that threatens basic financial survival”. Their goal is to develop a plan of
action with the NELHIN to influence change.

HSN President and CEO Dominic Giroux acknowledges everyone, from senior leadership to
frontline employees, who provided a great deal of expertise and input during what is,
undoubtedly, a very challenging budget process.
“These are not easy times for HSN, yet I am confident we will persevere together,” says Giroux.
“The consensus during internal consultations in mid-March was to move swiftly with reductions
to allow the organization to refocus as we develop a new Strategic Plan for 2019-2024 to meet
the needs of our patients and of the communities we serve. That’s our goal.”

The President of HSN’s medical staff executive, Dr. Killian de Blacam, says the approved
budget, the Board and the CEO have his full support.

However, implementation of the approved budget will not begin right away as planned. The
HSN Board was informed by the NELHIN that it would conduct by June 30th a third
party validation of the approved budget as well as a systemic review of the pressures that our
health system is experiencing.
The LHIN says this is needed because it is concerned with the magnitude, pace and impacts of HSN’s plan to live within its means.

HSN is hopeful some immediate financial help could be on the way. On March 28th, the Ontario
government presented its 2018 Budget. It included $822 million in new funding for hospitals with
tens of millions set aside for hospitals in precarious financial situations. With that in mind, at the
request of the NELHIN, HSN proposed a relief package of up to $5.9 million in ongoing annual
funding for HSN. The money could allow stability overall among HSN’s direct clinical staffing
complement. That being said, it’s important to note that HSN received no assurances that this
financial relief package is forthcoming.

source: HSN release

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