Summary of January 26, 2006 Miramichi Regional Health Authority Board of Directors Meeting

The Miramichi Regional Health Authority Board of Directors held its monthly regular meeting January 26, 2006 at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. The following are highlights of that meeting:

1. Financial Report

The Finance Committee reported that for the period ending October and November 2005; the Miramichi Regional Health Authority had an operating deficit of $541,240 and $611,448 respectfully. Some of the variance is the result of costs associated with physician locum replacements for internal medicine and surgery.

VP of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Jean-Guy Richard noted that the deficit is comparative to last year. He anticipates the deficit to increase over the next few months as a result of supplies and procedures associated with the region’s additional orthopedic surgeon.

2. Physicians and pharmacists recruited

In their reports to the Board, President and CEO Gary Foley and VP of Medical Services, Dr. Carl Hudson were pleased to announce that a psychiatrist and internal medicine specialist had been successfully recruited to the region. The physicians will be joining the MRHA in the next six months subject to the approval of privileges. The psychiatrist will be relocating from Switzerland and the internal medicine specialist from the United States. Dr. Hudson advised the Board that family physician Dr. Luc Arsenault had opened his practice in January. He said that four internal medicine specialists and two general surgeons have been recruited to provide locum coverage in the region during the winter and spring months. “We are currently assessing a number of internal medicine resumes and will be making arrangements to conduct interviews,” said Dr. Hudson. The MRHA continues to actively recruit internal medicine specialists, family practitioners, and a surgeon.

VP of Professional Services, Marilyn Underhill was also very pleased to announce that two pharmacists had been recruited. “By July of 2006, the MRHA will have its full compliment of pharmacists,” said Underhill. The Board congratulated the efforts of the human resources and pharmacy department on this accomplishment. Mr. Foley also extended a thank you to members of the MRHA and Miramichi Regional Hospital Foundation Boards for their assistance in the recruitment process. “Our recruitment efforts are successful in large part due to the support we have received from our community members who have been willing to share their time and hospitality with potential recruits.”

3. Board prepares for Accreditation

Linda Morris, VP of Patient Services reviewed information pertaining to the upcoming accreditation visit with the MRHA. The organization will participate in the accreditation process with the Canadian Council of Health Services Accreditation in April. During this time the accreditation surveyors will be visiting with various departments and quality improvement teams to discuss quality initiatives they have adopted in striving to achieve improvement measurements (AIM).

4. Education sessions targeting women are to be provided

A number of educational opportunities targeting women’s health issues will be provided to the public in the coming months. VP of Patient Care, Linda Morris reported that February is Heart Month and to celebrate, a number of MRHA programs and community groups have partnered to offer a Women and Heart Disease Information evening on Thursday, February 16, 7-9 p.m. in the Highland Theatre. The evening will have Cardiac Wellness, CCU and emergency department nurses speak about regional statistical information about women and heart disease, identifying signs and symptoms and assessing risk factors of heart disease. A physiotherapist will review the benefits of exercise, and a clinical dietitian will give information about healthy eating. Booths will be placed in the lobby during the break, and participants will have an opportunity to have their blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose checked as well as obtain information on their Body Mass Index (BMI) and nutrition. This evening is a partnership between MRHA’s Cardiac Wellness Program, Women’s Wellness Program, Staff Health Department, Workplace Wellness Program, MANGO, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, a free one-day women’s wellness conference will be held on March 8 in the Highland Theatre at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. The “Day for Women” conference will feature presentations about seeking balance in your life, using laughter to overcome roadblocks, and women’s bone health. The conference is being hosted by the MRHA Women’s Wellness Program. Further information about this conference will be communicated through the media in the coming weeks.

5. New equipment being purchased

Marilyn Underhill, VP Professional Services reported that new diagnostic imaging equipment had been purchased for the diagnostic imaging department. This includes two new ultrasound machines, a CT Scanner and a new mobile MRI. The ultrasound machines have been operational since December 2005. The 64 slice CT Scanner will be installed at the beginning of March and the new mobile MRI will be operational by mid-March. “We are very excited to have this new state-of-the-art equipment as it will provide increased diagnostic opportunities for the communities of our Health Authority,” said Underhill.

6. Health Authority moving towards a smoke free property policy

Dr. Stuart MacMillan, Chairman of the Professional Advisory Committee informed the Board that MRHA’s plans to introduce a smoke free property policy have begun. The environmental quality services team has met and is in the process of developing an action plan to create and implement this policy by April 2007. During the month of January, the MRHA closed its staff and visitor smoking gazebos as they were in violation of the Smoke Free Places Act. Staff and visitors are still able to smoke in a designated area located behind the hospital. As this policy develops, all stakeholders will be informed.

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