Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Review of Health Authority Ordered after Budget Mismanaged 3 Years in a Row

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Review of Health Authority Ordered after Budget Mismanaged 3 Years in a Row

Article excerpt

Review ordered for Fraser Health Authority

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VICTORIA - British Columbia's fastest-growing health authority has failed to manage its budget three years in a row, prompting the health minister to take "strong action" by ordering a review of its operations and leadership.

Terry Lake said funding for the authority has increased by six per cent over three years, compared to 4.8 per cent at other health authorities.

"The increases they've received have actually outpaced the population growth so that doesn't add up for us," Lake said Friday of the Fraser Health Authority, which serves 1.6 million people in the region that extends from Burnaby, to Hope, to Boston Bar.

He anticipates more money will be needed for the health authority, which has been directed to submit a revised plan for the remainder of this fiscal year and a new three-year strategic plan by late spring 2014. The review is expected to be completed by the end of May.

A committee of Health Ministry officials and health leaders will help the board put the plans in place, Lake said.

He said the funding boost expected for the Fraser Health Authority means savings will be found elsewhere, but that will be a challenge for the ministry with a budget of $16.4 million.

Lake said he doesn't anticipate any service cuts elsewhere.

"Essentially this is the third year in a row where Fraser has had challenges meeting their fiscal targets. Obviously there have been some concerns," he said, noting congestion in hospitals is one issue that will be looked at.

Besides the money issue, the review will consider different ways of delivering health care as costs continue to rise across the country, Lake said.

"When you look across Canada, in fact across North America, you're seeing that all governments are trying to do the same thing because with five, six, seven per cent increases on a yearly basis, the system is simply not sustainable."

British Columbia's 2012-2013 budget noted health-care spending would increase by $2. …

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