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Provincial Budget

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Backgrounder: Health and Social Services

Program Highlights 2004-2005
During the past year, a new $55 million hospital was opened in Summerside. Ten new long term care beds were opened at Community Hospital in O'Leary. The Province worked with the QEH to develop a plan to upgrade the hospital which is now 22 years old. Funding of $256,000 is available this year to continue the planning process.

Funding for drug programs increased by $1.2 million. Drug coverage was further expanded through new financial assistance for medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. New funding of up to $200 per month was introduced to help with the cost of home oxygen equipment and supplies. An additional $1.8 million was allocated for blood services.

A total of 86 new registered nurses were brought into the health system in 2004-2005.

Three family physicians and five specialist physicians were recruited to PEI last year. Another 55 physicians were recruited to provide temporary locum services.

Staff worked in partnership with cancer survivors and community organizations to introduce a new Cancer Control
to reduce cancer while improving the lives of cancer patients.

The Strategy for Healthy Living continued to make healthy living the norm in the province.

Increased funding was made available to identify speech and language difficulties in young children and make early interventions.

$262,000 was invested to immunize children against meningitis. Over 7,000 students were vaccinated against whooping cough.

Budget 2005 Highlights

An additional $465,000 will be made available for a new pneumococcal vaccine to immunize infants against meningitis.

The budget will be increased to support rising costs and demand for services. Funding includes an additional $9.5 million for salaries and benefits as per the collective agreements; $2.6 million for physician and hospital services; $837,000 for the Disability Support Program; $600,000 for the Early Learning and Child Care initiative; $3.3 million for increased operating costs; and $2.7 million for provincial drug programs.

New funding will support several new initiatives including $400,000 for Alzheimer's medications. An additional $1 million in financial assistance will be provided for subsidized residents of private nursing homes. The Best Start program will receive an additional $155,000 in new funding to bring the provincial contribution up to $720,000. This will help new parents, many of whom are young and inexperienced, to improve their ability to care for their children and to give them a good start in life.

Cost savings
Improvements will be made to the way the health and social services system is organized. The four Regional Health Authorities and the Provincial Health Services Authority will be brought together as one system under the Department of Health. Community Hospital Boards will be established to oversee, manage and plan for community hospitals.

A separate Department of Social Services and Seniors will focus on children, social services and the special needs of our growing seniors population.

This reorganization will result in cost savings of $9 million each year through reduced overlap, duplication and administration. These savings will help to address rising costs in front line patient, client and resident services. The new departments will be in place by the fall of 2005.

Wherever possible, employees affected will be offered positions that have been vacated through the Workforce Renewal Program. Collective agreements will be honoured. By eliminating vacancies, early retirement and voluntary departures, layoffs will be a last resort.

Further cost savings of $250,000 will be realized through reductions t the Dental Public Health budget.

Funding will be delayed for the Montague Family Health Centre renovation, the Seniors Home Repair program, and the Nursing Recruitment and Retention Strategy.

The following is an outline of the functional design of the new Department of Health and the Department of Social Services and Seniors.

Department of Health

The following divisions will be responsible for programs and services:
  • The Community Hospitals and Continuing Care Division will be responsible for long term care, home care, dialysis services, palliative care and the five community hospitals.
  • The Provincial Acute Care Division will be responsible for the operations of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prince County Hospital and Hillsborough Hospital.
  • The Primary Care Division will be responsible for community mental health, inpatient and outpatient addictions services, family health centres, public health nursing, chronic disease management, reproductive care, primary health care policy, speech language pathology and audiology services.
  • The Medical Programs Division will be responsible for Medicare services planning, physician resource planning, physician recruitment, medical education, Medicare program administration, out of province liaison, medical technology assessment and ambulance services.
  • The Population Health Division will be responsible for the current functions of the Chief Health Officer, which include administration and enforcement of the Public Health Act and regulations, immunization and communicable diseases. It is also responsible for epidemiology, health inspection services, environmental health, emergency health, community care and private nursing homes and inspection services.
  • The Corporate Services Division will be responsible for human resources, communications, FOIPP, policy and administration, records information management, results measurement, quality and risk utilization, French language services, legislation processes, policy and evaluation, and Federal Provincial Territorial health matters.
  • The Finance Division will be be responsible for budgeting, forecasting and analysis, auditing, payroll functions, materials management and financial planning.
  • The Health Informatics Division will continue to support the Department of Health and the new Department of Social Services and Seniors in the short term.

    Department of Social Services and Seniors
    The following divisions will be responsible for programs and services:
  • The Pharmacy and Dental Services Division will be responsible for dental health programs and pharmacy programs such as the Drug Cost Assistance Program, Seniors Drug Cost Assistance Program, Diabetes Drug Program, Atlantic Drug Review, home oxygen program, Flolan and other drug programs.
  • The Children and Youth Services Division will be responsible for child protection, children in care, adoptions, foster care, youth services, Tyne Valley Child Developmental Health Centre, group homes, healthy child development strategy, and early childhood services including day care licencing, inspection, certification and autism.
  • The Social Programs and Seniors Division will be responsible for financial assistance, disability support program, housing, emergency social services, Premier's Action Committee on Family Violence, office of Seniors, Federal Provincial Territorial matters, seniors and housing, National Child Benefit, and the services of adult protection and public guardian.
  • The Corporate and Finance Division is responsible for finance and administration, payroll, audit, human resources, communications, FPT social and housing, FOIPP and records information management, French language services, program development and analysis and vital statistics.

    For information contact:
    Anne-Marie Smith
    Department of Health and Social Services
    902 368 6257
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