POP: Capital Cost Requirement for Municipalities on Health Care Facilities

POP: Yes
Res #: POP 1-06A
Number: 1
Year: 2006
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Health

Point of Privilege Resolution No. 1-06A

WHEREAS, the cities of Regina and Saskatoon were not required to contribute any funds to the new hospital construction; and

WHEREAS, all other rural and urban communities are required to pay 35% of the cost of any new facility construction; and

WHEREAS, new construction costs have doubled since the inclement weather in the southern USA; and

WHEREAS, there are extra costs on top of the 35% for equipment and furniture, which further increases the costs of construction;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM petition the Provincial Government to reduce or remove the 35% requirement for new construction of health facilities in rural areas; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this be made retroactive to January 1, 2006.

Response from Honourable Len Taylor, Minister of Health:

The provincial Capital Funding Policy for construction of health care facilities provides 100 per cent funding for eligible costs related to facilities where there is an expectation that they will provide care, not just for local needs, but also for residents from across the province. This includes the tertiary hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon, as well as Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford. Facilities in the far north are also 100 per cent provincially funded in recognition of the unique challenges facing these communities. Facilities that primarily serve a regions' local population, including those in Regina and Saskatoon, are cost-shared according to the provincial policy of 65 per cent provincial and 35 per cent local share.

Provincial expenditures on health care as a percentage of total government spending continues to grow each year. It is difficult to recommend further increases in spending to increase the provincial share of the cost-sharing ratio for health capital when the result may be that that spending will crowd out other non-health related provincial priorities. Given that there is limited funding available for capital projects, if the province were to consider increasing its share of funding in the future, it follows that fewer capital projects could be undertaken province-wide.

Communities are encouraged to work with their respective Regional Health Authorities and Saskatchewan Health officials to communicate their concerns and suggestions regarding facility planning and capital project commitments. I assure you that we continue to work with health regions to make certain that our system provides the best possible service, while keeping health care sustainable into the future.