Highlights of the Board of Directors public meeting

Grand Falls, November 25, 2014 – The Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network held its regular public meeting on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 in Grand Falls. 

Acting President and Chief Executive Officer appointed

Paul Couturier, Chairman of the Network’s Board of Directors, welcomed Jean Castonguay, who had been appointed Acting President and Chief Executive Officer the previous week.  On his own behalf and that of the Network’s entire senior management team, Mr. Couturier committed to collaborating fully.

The Network’s performance

Quality of care

The Network’s results show a cesarean rate of 30.1%, which is an increase over last year’s rate of 28.5%.  The organization’s indicators related to rates of C. difficile infection and medication errors are coming in better than the set targets. The Network has also standardized its processes in order to more accurately measure its employees’ hand hygiene compliance rate and compare this to the rest of Canada. The target for the year is 70%, with our results to date coming in at 66%.

The short-term care hospitalization rate related to conditions for which appropriate ambulatory care could prevent or reduce the need for an admission is 7.0%.  This represents an improvement over last year’s rate of 7.2%. The Network is working toward a target for the year of 6.6%.

Financial components

To October 31, 2014, the Network had recorded total expenditures of $379.7 million, which translates into an operating surplus of $6.3 million compared to the planned budget. This surplus is primarily due to reductions of $3.8 million (1.5%) in salary expenditures and $2.5 million in operating expenditures compared to the planned budget. The Network is also reporting deficits in some sectors, namely medication expenditures with a deficit of $711,700 (4.4%) and equipment maintenance with a deficit of $306,400.  

Operational and human resources factors

In terms of sick leave hours compared to the number of hours worked, the Network is reporting a rate of 5.7%, which is better than this year’s target of 5.8%.  In terms of overtime hours, our rate of 2.32% compared to the number of hours worked is just above our target of 2.15%.

Surveys on the patient experience

The Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, Jean Castonguay, outlined the key results of a first outpatient survey conducted in August 2014. Just over 2200 patients completed the survey, with the results indicating an overall satisfaction rate of 78%.  Some of the surveyed elements included politeness and compassion of staff (89% satisfaction), time taken to listen to and answer questions (82%), and respect for privacy (84%).  Some elements such as the wait to obtain an appointment (58%), the time spent in waiting rooms (53%), and the means employed to facilitate the wait (53%) require attention.

The Network also presented the highlights of targeted surveys on meal quality, cleanliness, peace and quiet, visiting hours, and information on health condition. With respect to meals, 49% of the surveyed patients indicated that they were “very satisfied.”  The comments received primarily focused on the taste and temperature of foods.

With respect to the cleanliness of rooms, 75% of Vitalité Health Network inpatients gave an “excellent” rating, compared to 69% last year.  The Acting President and Chief Executive Officer indicated that the measures already undertaken appeared to be yielding good results.  “With an eye to continuous quality improvement, we are always striving to provide our patients with the best possible services during hospitalization.  We conduct these surveys to obtain additional information on areas where the Network is recording lower performance,” Mr. Castonguay explained.  This data will allow the Network to identify solutions and implement concrete improvement measures.

Preparations to handle Ebola virus disease

The Acting President and Chief Executive Officer outlined the work undertaken to fully prepare the Network to handle Ebola virus disease.  The Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre has been designated as the facility to treat eventual affected patients.   As well, personal protective equipment is available for employees.  Between 85% and 100% of the staff in our emergency departments and intensive care units, depending on the zone and facility, have received training.  “Overall, this amounts to nearly 900 Network employees having received this training.   The work continues, and we are proceeding with simulations in targeted sectors this week,” Mr. Castonguay concluded.