Highlights of the Board of Directors public meeting

Bathurst, March 1, 2016 – The Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network held its regular public meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Bathurst.

Resource management – Network performance

Patient satisfaction: Results for the quarter ending December 31, 2015 showed an inpatient satisfaction rate of 97.2%, which is 7.2% above target. The outpatient satisfaction rate was 98.3%, which is 8.3% above target.

Bed utilization: The bed occupancy rate was 90.2% compared to 93.8% for the same period last year, which represents a 3.8% drop. As at December 31, 2015, the overall average of beds occupied by long-term care patients was 24%, which represents a 4% reduction compared to last year.

Financial resources: As at December 31, 2015 the Network recorded total expenditures (excluding Medicare) of $437.3 million compared to the planned budget of $438.1 million, representing an operational surplus of $770,626. The Network recorded a surplus of $1.1 million in employee salaries and benefits. Some items of expenditure were in deficit, including medical and surgical supplies and equipment maintenance.

Clinical Services Plan

Gilles Lanteigne, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Network, provided an update on the development of the Clinical Services Plan.

Phase 1: “Following the tabling of the provincial budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, we were informed by the Department of Health that changes will have to be made to Phase 1 of our Clinical Services Plan adopted by the Board of Directors on December 14, 2015,” stated Mr. Lanteigne. The changes will affect the reduction in the number of acute care beds. “We are waiting for more information on the exact nature of the changes required to be able to adjust some parts of our plan.”

Phase 2: Work has begun to develop the second phase of the Clinical Services Plan. Various medical specialist groups will shortly meet to discuss the service offer and determine how the organization of services could be improved on the Network’s territory. Phase 2 of the plan will deal with specialty and subspecialty services, the medical staff organization, and research and training activities and programs. “The overall Clinical Services Plan is expected to be completed by the end of June 2016,” said Mr. Lanteigne.

Syrian Refugee Health Clinic

With the arrival of hundreds of Syrian refugees in the Greater Moncton Area this winter, Vitalité and Horizon health networks joined forces to implement a clinic dedicated to the specific physical and mental health needs of refugees.

“The purpose of the clinic, which is located in Moncton, is to be the refugees' first point of contact with our health system,” said Mr. Lanteigne. A nurse practitioner and physicians provide screening, treatment, and follow-up for the health problems of newcomers and help them become familiar with and access the health services available. Public health nurses check and update the immunization of refugees, especially of children, so that they can start school again.

The Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA), which is in charge of welcoming all government-assisted refugees, takes the refugees to the clinic and, whenever possible, makes arrangements to have an interpreter present during consultations. As at February 15, 2016, nearly 150 refugees had received health care services at the clinic.

New Smoke-Free Environment policy

As planned, the new Smoke-Free Environment policy became effective January 1, 2016 on all Network property, facilities and points of service.

“Generally speaking, the integration and implementation of the policy are going relatively well, with no major incident to report, and good collaboration is noted from patients, visitors and employees,” reported the President and CEO. “I wish to thank all those who contributed to the successful implementation of this important public health initiative,” he continued.

The Network noted that employees who smoke continue to gradually join the smoking cessation program that is available to them. Nearly 230 employees throughout the Network have enrolled in the program to date, with a success rate of 41.9%, which is above the national standard of 29%.

Plan for Greater Equity in the Provision of Health Care Services 2013-2018

The Network has confirmed that the Government will invest an additional $1.9 million in the Plan for Greater Equity in the Provision of Health Care Services, commonly called the “catch-up plan”, for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. According to the President and Chief Executive Officer, this is great news for French-language health services in the province. “This amount is in addition to the $5.8 million already planned last year, for a total of $7.7 million annually.