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Health Sciences North passes first balanced budget in three years

'With this stability, we can put financial resources into what matters most to Northerners as indicated with our new Strategic Plan'
2019 health sciences north
Health Sciences North. Supplied.

The Board of Directors for Health Sciences North has approved a balanced operating budget for 2019-2020, the first balanced budget in three years.

It marks the elimination of an $11.1 million deficit in 2017-2018.

The new budget has HSN turning a corner with enhancements to medical imaging, the maintaining of medical services, an increase of at least 50,000 unionized front-line work hours mostly in clinical areas, and no overall increase in non-unionized or management work hours according to a news release.

The $512.1 million budget will advance HSN’s strategic plan to provide high-quality health services, support learning and generate research that improves health outcomes for the people of Northeastern Ontario.  

“I am happy to report that HSN is in good financial health,” said Nicole Everest, Chair of the HSN Board of Directors. “With this stability, we can put financial resources into what matters most to Northerners as indicated with our new Strategic Plan.”

The 2019-2020 budget includes spending that will help HSN and HSNRI be patient and family focused, digitally enabled, and socially accountable while supporting and developing its people and strengthening its academic and research impact.

Looking forward, HSN is finalizing a business case for a new regional electronic medical record system aimed at making the healthcare system safer and more efficient for patients.

Dr. Killian de Blacam, President of the Medical Staff says, “Launching a regional electronic medical record is a top priority for HSN’s Medical Staff. This will allow our physicians and all healthcare providers to have timely information about their patients. This is an important tool for a progressive academic hospital and for ensuring the best health care possible for patients.”

2019-2020 Budget Highlights

  • A balanced operating budget of $512.1 million
  • Elimination of $11.1 million operating deficit
  • Capital budget:
    • Completion of the $9.0 million PET-CT capital expansion
    • Construction of the $26.3 million Labelle Innovation and Learning Centre
    • $3 million to begin the implementation of a regional electronic medical record and of a Human Resources Information System
  • An overall increase of at least 50,000 budgeted work hours by unionized staff mostly in clinical areas compared with worked hours in 2018-2019
  • No overall increase in budgeted work hours for management and non-unionized staff
  • Resources to operate on average 10 more beds compared to 2018-2019 budget
  • Enhancements to medical imaging, including more fellowship-trained radiologists in sub-specialties 
  • HSN is more efficient than the 50th percentile of similar-sized Ontario hospitals on the majority of 64 clinical, clinical support and support benchmarked activities
  • The number of vice-presidents and associate vice-presidents at HSN reduced from 12 in 2016 to six in 2019
  • Shared leadership for the three foundations and the HSN Volunteer Association
  • According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the cost of a standard hospital stay at HSN is below the averages for North East LHIN hospitals, Ontario hospitals, Canadian hospitals, and Canadian teaching hospitals. Administrative expenses as a percentage of budget are lower than Ontario hospitals and North East LHIN hospitals.