State of health services and lodge design outlined

Meadow Lake resident Jim Lounsbury, one of close to 70 people in attendance for a health information meeting at Jonas Samson Junior High School, leans forward while Dr. Gavin Va de Venter talks about health care improvements in the Meadow Lake region Feb. 4.

Meadow Lake resident Jim Lounsbury, one of close to 70 people in attendance for a health information meeting at Jonas Samson Junior High School, leans forward while Dr. Gavin Va de Venter talks about health care improvements in the Meadow Lake region Feb. 4.

By Gaven Crites

Meadow Lake and area residents received a glimpse into the future of local health care during a meeting organized by the Community Health Advisory Network Feb. 4.
The meeting was held at the Jonas Samson Junior High School theatre. Among the issues addressed were the cost and current status of the new Northland Pioneer Lodge. Questions regarding wait times, family doctors and the salaries of Prairie North Regional Health Authority bureaucrats were also raised, but it was the lodge – a joint provincial, city and rural municipality undertaking – which sparked the most interest.
Fan also stressed the province’s desire to see shovels in the ground sooner rather than later.
“We would love to get going as quickly as possible,” Fan said. “We’re trying to encourage the community to participate along with us.”
The timeline set by the city and the RM – at least two years before their respective councils can meet the approximate $6 million funding requirement –  remains unchanged.
Councillor Curtis Paylor spoke on behalf of the city.
“We’re under intense pressure with current infrastructure programs,” Paylor said. “Levies or an increase in taxation are options we would have to look at (to begin sooner.)”
While most questions raised throughout the evening were written in advance and read aloud by moderator Don Marsh, area resident Lloyd Fiddler did step up to the mic to ask if it was possible for the city to get a dialysis machine.
“It’s a long standing issue… a major stumbling block,” Fan answered, adding there is a lack of medical infrastructure in place. “We’re not able to move in that direction (at this time).”
He did say there may well be room for a dialysis machine in the new long-term care facility.
“But that’s still two years away,” he noted.
Fiddler also raised the issue of federal funding for local health care initiatives.
“It’s not only about the City of Meadow Lake,” Fiddler said, stressing consideration and inclusion of the First Nations and Métis population.
“We’ve gone around this circle many times,” Fan said, adding it’s unlikely the federal government will reverse its course of action with respect to treaty obligations.
Another major focus of the evening was the architectural layout of the lodge.
A PowerPoint presentation and diagrams outlined the future design, which calls for the development of a service road to link five cottage-like pods, each with 12 bedrooms and a kitchenette, surrounding the main facility. The enclaves are designed to resemble a home-like atmosphere, opposed to hospital or institutional-like settings.
Marnell Cornish, nurse manager at the Tatagwa View long-term care facility in Weyburn, said Northland Pioneer Lodge staff and management should be making similar considerations when caring for patients day-to-day.
“Seniors would prefer to live in their own home, but sometimes they can’t,” Cornish said. “We try as much as possible to make it like that experience.”
A written question asked how the average person is expected to pay reasonable costs for a long-term care room when CEOs and VPs are doubling their pay.
“There’s not a whole lot I can do about that,” remarked PNRHA CEO David Fan with regard to his pay-grade.
Fan went on to assure those in attendance, however, his salary did not double.
“I assure we’re in complete compliance (with ministry standards),” added Bonnie O’Grady, PNRHA board chair. “(Salaries) certainly didn’t double.”
According to PNRHA’s most recent financial report, Fan’s total salary increased a little more than 50 per cent last year – $391,896 in 2012 compared to $198,394 in 2011. A portion of that increase is tied to performance incentives.
Meadow Lake area resident Monty Samson said he attended the meeting not for any specific issue, but to get a general overview of some of the things taking place.
“I think they did a good job,” Samson said. “They covered a lot of ground.”
The PNRHA has been working with local representatives for some time on the design and construction of a new lodge to meet the needs of patients.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: