Opening of new Leader and District Integrated Healthcare Facility celebrated
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.
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.
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.