Open­ing of new Leader and District In­te­grated Health­care Fa­cil­ity cel­e­brated

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Front Page - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG — mlieben­berg@prairiepost.com

The com­ple­tion of a new in­te­grated health­care fa­cil­ity in Leader was cel­e­brated dur­ing a grand open­ing event, Oct. 26.

The for­mal pro­gram in­cluded speeches by a num­ber of dig­ni­taries and the bless­ing of the build­ing by mem­bers of the Leader Min­is­te­rial As­so­ci­a­tion. There was a rib­bon cut­ting and cake cut­ting, and guests were able to tour the new Leader and District In­te­grated Health­care Fa­cil­ity.

The $12.1 mil­lion cap­i­tal ex­pan­sion project re­ceived $9.6 mil­lion in fund­ing from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and the com­mu­nity con­trib­uted the re­main­ing 20 per cent.

Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for Ru­ral and Re­mote Health Greg Ot­ten­breit con­sid­ered the part­ner­ship be­tween the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity to be cru­cial to the suc­cess of the project.

“It’s huge, we couldn’t do this on our own for the most part,” he said af­ter the grand open­ing. “A num­ber of years ago we went to a dif­fer­ent model. In­stead of the 35 per cent com­mu­nity model we only ask the com­mu­ni­ties to come up with 20 per cent, but Leader ac­tu­ally stepped up in some big ways out­side of that one. It came to in­te­grate the EMS am­bu­lance bays into the fa­cil­ity and some of the ex­tras that were achieved here. There was a lot of ex­tra work that was done by the com­mu­nity here, as was rec­og­nized to­day.”

He noted the fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions of com­mu­ni­ties make it pos­si­ble for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to carry out such cap­i­tal projects.

“There’s al­ways the wish to maybe fund the whole fa­cil­ity,” he said. “It would be dif­fi­cult to achieve the builds that we do in a re­gard like that. When we do look at some of the fa­cil­i­ties that do serve the whole prov­ince, those are 100 per cent funded.”

This project fol­lowed the tra­di­tional ap­proach to pro­cure­ment for pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture in­stead of the pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ship (P3) model.

“We found that when it comes to a P3 ap­proach, very sel­dom does it make sense on a project less than a $100 mil­lion,” Ot­ten­breit said. “So when we start look­ing at some of these com­mu­nity mod­els or fa­cil­i­ties out in the com­mu­ni­ties, the smaller fa­cil­i­ties like this, the stan­dard ap­proach is what usu­ally makes sense.”

This project to con­struct a new in­te­grated health­care fa­cil­ity and to ren­o­vate the Western Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home was an­nounced in Septem­ber 2014.

The ini­tial con­struc­tion ten­der was can­celled in Jan­uary 2016 due to higher than bud­geted con­struc­tion costs and af­ter a re­view of the de­sign the ten­der doc­u­ments were re-is­sued.

Con­struc­tion started in Fe­bru­ary 2017 and shortly af­ter­wards the ren­o­va­tions at the Western Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home also got un­der­way. These im­prove­ments in­cluded paint­ing, floor­ing, light­ing, handrails, ceil­ing lifts in the rooms, and the in­stal­la­tion of three kitch­enettes to cre­ate a more home-like en­vi­ron­ment for res­i­dents.

The ren­o­va­tions to the first of three wings at the Western Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home were com­pleted in Oc­to­ber 2017 and the up­grades to the third wing were done by April 2018.

The con­struc­tion of the new in­te­grated health­care fa­cil­ity was com­pleted dur­ing the sum­mer of 2018 and the new fa­cil­ity opened in late Septem­ber.

For Tim Geiger, the chair­per­son of the Leader and District Trust Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, it was an im­por­tant day to see the com­ple­tion of an ini­tia­tive that started many years ago to im­prove health­care in the com­mu­nity.

“It’s prob­a­bly 15 years min­i­mum,” he said af­ter the grand open­ing event. “We worked a long time and it seemed like ev­ery time we jumped a hur­dle there were two more there, but it all worked out in the end. If you keep work­ing at it, it even­tu­ally comes to pass. You reach suc­cess. We’ve had a lot of good peo­ple in­volved with this project. We’ve had a lot of good peo­ple in the health re­gion; we’ve had a lot of good peo­ple in the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment help us, and a lot of lo­cal sup­port.”

The ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties con­trib­uted the funds for the com­mu­nity's por­tion of the cap­i­tal project. Geiger and lo­cal res­i­dent Pam Busby, who served on the for­mer Cy­press Re­gional Health Author­ity board, vis­ited all the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­ity and ur­ban coun­cils.

“We pre­sented our case and it was not re­ally a big is­sue to raise the money,” Geiger re­called. “We’re look­ing at half a mil­lion dol­lars from each en­tity and it worked out re­ally eas­ily. It worked re­ally well.”

Fund­ing was pro­vided by the Town of Leader and the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Ch­ester­field, Clin­worth, Deer­forks, En­ter­prise, Fox Val­ley and Happy Land. The com­mu­nity helped to col­lect ap­prox­i­mately $1.2 mil­lion for fur­nish­ings and equip­ment through var­i­ous fundrais­ing ini­tia­tives.

“We did have a $1,000 a plate din­ner two years ago and we raised like a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars on that,” he said. “That was for fur­nish­ings and equip­ment. The cap­i­tal cost was all funded by R.M.s and towns and vil­lages, but for the fur­nish­ings and equip­ment that’s all lo­cal fund­ing.”

He noted that it is im­por­tant for the com­mu­nity in this ru­ral area to have ac­cess to a health­care fa­cil­ity that can pro­vide care when needed.

“We live in an area here where we are 60 min­utes away from the near­est health fa­cil­ity and in that golden hour, as the health pro­fes­sion­als al­ways talk about that, it is very crit­i­cal,” he said. “We re­al­ized it is very im­por­tant to have that and if we don’t have that we’re at a su­per dis­ad­van­tage as far as health care.”

For Geiger the most im­por­tant as­set of the new fa­cil­ity is that all the ser­vices are lo­cated on one site.

“When we trans­ferred them from the home or to the hos­pi­tal you had to have an am­bu­lance or the hand­ibus,” he said. “It’s so much sim­pler now. You just wheel them down the hall­way. The same with the clinic. It’s all one foot­print and that’s the way the pro­vin­cial scheme is head­ing. So we have to be there.”

The new in­te­grated health­care fa­cil­ity brings to­gether acute care, emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices, com­mu­nity health ser­vices and pri­mary health care at a sin­gle lo­ca­tion. There are six in­pa­tient beds and 10 ex­am­i­na­tion rooms.

All in­pa­tient rooms are pri­vate and have ceil­ing track lifts for eas­ier pa­tient trans­fers that re­duces the risk of staff in­juries. A con­nect­ing cor­ri­dor links the new fa­cil­ity with the 30-bed long-term care fa­cil­ity.

Photo by Matthew Liebenberg

HAPPY TIMES FOR LEADER: Ru­ral and Re­mote Health Min­is­ter Greg Ot­ten­breit speaks to Western Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home res­i­dent Judy Yanko, who car­ried out the of­fi­cial rib­bon cut­ting. Stand­ing next to them is Yanko's daugh­ter Lynn Resch, who is a pa­tient and fam­ily ad­vi­sor rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Above: The new Leader and District In­te­grated Health­care Fa­cil­ity com­bines all health­care ser­vices un­der a sin­gle roof.Top right: The in­te­rior de­sign of the new in­te­grated health­care fa­cil­ity in­cludes fea­ture walls that dis­play im­ages by lo­cal pho­tog­ra­phers.Bot­tom right: A trauma room in the new in­te­grated health­care fa­cil­ity.

Photos by Matthew Liebenberg

Health Ser­vices Man­ager Bev­er­ley Thompson and Western Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home res­i­dent Sada Kil­tau, who turns 104 years old in Novem­ber, cut the grand open­ing cake.

Saskatchewan Health Author­ity Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor for Pri­mary Health Care Bryce Martin talked about the ben­e­fits of an in­te­grated fa­cil­ity dur­ing the grand open­ing, Oct. 26.

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