Highlights of the Board of Directors public meeting

Bathurst, May 28, 2013 – The Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network held its regular public meeting on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Bathurst.  

The Network’s financial target

Last March 21, the Executive Committee approved a project to eliminate 109 management and administrative support full time equivalents (FTEs) over the next three years, thus reducing expenses by $8 million on an annualized basis. For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the number of positions will be reduced by 72 FTEs for a cost reduction on an annualized basis of $5.5 million. President and CEO Rino Volpé confirmed that this project was being implemented. 

For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Vitalité Health Network’s expenses are estimated to add up to nearly $621 million, which is approximately $11 million over the planned budget.

For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the President and CEO does not anticipate any difficulty in keeping expenses at the same level as those of the previous year, i.e. $620 million.  However, absorbing the 2012-2013 deficit will pose a major challenge, which he cannot guarantee at this time.

Despite the great challenge, Vitalité Health Network aims to reach the target set by the Department of Health. With this in mind, the 2013-2014 budget was thoroughly reviewed over the past few months and management team members and department managers have identified additional operational savings of approximately $10 million on an annualized basis for 2013-2014. The implementation of these new cost reduction initiatives will begin in early June 2013. Performance improvement initiatives on an annualized basis now add up to $15 million. As for the benchmarking project that is now starting, it will be expected to generate $8 million improvements to allow the Network to meet the $610 million target. 

Benchmarking project

The Office of the Health System Renewal has devised an action plan including the benchmarking of health expenditures in New Brunswick compared to the rest of the country.   Each of the 22 New Brunswick hospitals that were analyzed has shown a potential for improvement between 12% to 26.7% of its direct costs (including Grand Manan).  The average potential cost savings for all hospitals in both networks are 16.8% of their direct costs, i.e. $236 million. 

In the large hospital group (Group 1 – 300 beds and more), the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre ranked as second most efficient in the group after the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital while the Moncton Hospital showed the greatest potential for cost savings in the group.  The four hospitals in this group showed average potential cost savings of 15.3% of their direct costs, i.e. $134 million.

The medium hospital group (Group 2 – between 100 and 300 beds), including most of Vitalité Health Network hospital beds, was identified as showing potential cost savings of 20% of their direct costs, i.e. $68 million.  The Miramichi Regional Hospital was the most efficient facility in the group with potential cost savings of 14.4% of its direct costs and the Chaleur Regional Hospital was the one with the greatest potential for improvement with 25.6% of its direct costs.

The small hospital group (Group 3 – 50 beds and less) includes 14 facilities.   The Grand Manan and Stella-Maris-de-Ken hospitals were the two in this group with the lowest potential for cost savings with 8.7% and 11.9% of their direct costs respectively.  The Tracadie-Sheila Hospital was the one with the greatest potential cost savings in this group, as well as in all three hospital groups with 26.7% of its direct costs.

Clinical Services Advisory Committee

This committee was set up during the restructuring process last February and is under the direction of Dr. Louis-Marie Simard. Its main purpose is to review, assess and analyze clinical services to help Administration  with decision making when planning activities and assessing clinical services provided by the Network. The committee is now in place and a work plan has been developed.  Administration will soon start receiving recommendations on various issues related to clinical services.

Capital projects under way

Vitalité Health Network is currently at different implementation or planning stages for capital projects totalling over $400 million. The most important project is the one for the Restigouche Hospital Centre in the Restigouche Zone, which will exceed $150 million alone. Work should be completed in the fall of 2014.


A recent visit made with Minister Flemming provided an opportunity to meet and discuss with physicians in the Northwest, Acadie-Bathurst and Beauséjour zones. A meeting with the Chaleur Regional Hospital Foundation was also held to discuss the progress of the major expansion project for the facility. Restigouche mayors were also met and had the opportunity to discuss their concerns and expectations in terms of local health care services. Finally, a meeting with the Comité action H in Caraquet also took place regarding the Network’s administrative reorganization.

2014-2016 Health and Business Plan

As soon as the benchmarking project will be in place, Vitalité Health Network will begin devising its next health and business plan. The process should start by mid-July 2013.

The Chaleur Regional Hospital among the top health care facilities in the country

As for the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Paul Couturier, he stressed the recent recognition of the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst as one of the top health care facilities in the country.  This recognition is the result of an extensive cross-Canada investigation by CBC-TV's the fifth estate.  The Chaleur Regional Hospital earned an A+ ranking and it is the only hospital in New Brunswick to receive this distinction, which it shares with nine other hospitals located in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.  On behalf of the Board of Directors, Mr. Couturier presented a certificate of recognition to Stéphane Legacy, Chief Operating Officer of the Acadie-Bathurst Zone, who was accompanied by several representatives from the Chaleur Regional Hospital.

Employees distinguished themselves

Mr. Couturier also stressed the accomplishments of two Network nurses who distinguished themselves on the provincial and national levels.  Nathalie Haché-Losier, nurse advisor in oncology with the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during a ceremony in Ottawa.  Ms. Haché Losier was among a group of 30 nurses from across Canada who were recognized by the Canadian Nurses Association for their remarkable contributions to nursing care and health care in their communities.  As for Sandra Lagacé, nurse advisor in hemodialysis with the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, she distinguished herself on the provincial level.  She won the Nurses Association of New Brunswick poster competition held as part of 2013 National Nursing Week. 

Facilities celebrated an anniversary

The Enfant-Jésus RHSJ† Hospital in Caraquet celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday, May 26 while the 60th anniversary of the St. Joseph Community Health Centre in Dalhousie was celebrated on Thursday, May 16.  Community activities were held to celebrate these two anniversaries and on behalf of the Board of Directors, Mr. Couturier extended his best wishes to the staff and physicians of both facilities.