CHA gets top marks nationally

Darrell Cole
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For quality, access to primary care

The Cumberland Health Authority is gaining recognition nationally for quality contol and access to primary care.

The Cumberland Health Authority is garnering rave reviews for its three collaborative emergency centres. The authority has released its annual report showing continued program in maintaining programs and services despite financial challenges.

AMHERST – Despite continued financial pressures, the Cumberland Health Authority is continuing to offer quality programs and services, says its CEO.

Speaking to the organization’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, Bruce Quigley credited staff for going above and beyond to offer top notch services while staying on budget.

“We’re very fortunate in Cumberland County to have some very high quality programming delivered and that’s a result of the commitment shown by all our staff in providing the best programs and services,” Quigley said.

Quigley said a sign of the authority’s commitment to quality is evidenced in the recent Canadian Institute of Health Information website that compares health districts across the country in various areas.

“I’m proud to say that in a couple of those indicators Cumberland County is rated among the top 10 per cent nationally for its performance over the last three years in areas such as quality,” Quigley said. “We have a very low percentage of patients who have to come back to this hospital after they’ve been discharged. We are also in the top 10 per cent in terms of access to physicians. The most important indicator of health care to local residents is their ability to access primary care.”

In Cumberland County, he said, that access includes nurse practitioners.

Board chairman Bruce Saunders said the CHA was again able to maintain its stable financial position while continuing to meet expanding obligations for programs and services.

“To successfully operate a $66-million organization is no small task and we want to acknowledge the work of all staff who remain diligent in their efforts to stay within budget,” Saunders said.

Saunders said the authority has embraced the Home First program that aims to keep people living in their homes as long as possible with supports and services that help with daily living.

As the program grows, Saunders hopes it will take some of the strain off acute-care facilities like the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre that has at least 30 per cent of its acute-care beds occupied by seniors awaiting long-term care placement.

“With over 20 per cent of the population in Cumberland County over the age of 65, and that percentage increasing all the time, it is important that programs like Home First are important,” he said.

Saunders said the health authority has become a national leader in the delivery of urgent, emergent and primary health care through the opening of collaborate emergency centres.

Another positive in the last year is the expansion of Bayview Memorial Health Centre in Advocate Harbour to provide enhanced recreation and living spaces for the residents and to provide better storage and work spaces for facility staff.

The past year also saw more steps taken toward construction of a replacement for North Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Pugwash. The announcement of an architectural firm to design the new building is expected soon and work should begin once the province gives approval.

Saunders said the health authority has also added more medical staff, including more than 30 registered nurses while it’s also close to a full compliment of specialist physicians.

Financially, the health authority finished with a deficit of $128,832, which Saunders said is minute compared to its $66-million budget. With amortization, required through new provincially-imposed accounting standards, the deficit increases to $949,000.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority, Canadian Institute of Health Information, Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre North Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Pugwash

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Advocate Harbour

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