Miramichi Regional Health Authority
Summary of February 27, 2006 Board of Directors Meeting

The Miramichi Regional Health Authority (MRHA) Board of Directors held its monthly regular meeting February 27, 2006 at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. The following are highlights of that meeting:

1. Financial Report

It was reported the Miramichi Regional Health Authority had an operating deficit of $755,064 for the nine month period ending December 2005. The variance is the result of costs associated with service contracts, internal medicine locums, legal fees and the start-up of the enhanced orthopedic program. VP of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Jean-Guy Richard noted the deficit is comparative to last year.

2. Physician recruitment update

In his report to the Board, Dr. Carl Hudson, VP of Medical Services reported the MRHA was continuing to actively recruit internal medicine specialists, family doctors and a surgeon. He indicated that interviews with two internal medicine specialists from South Africa were completed and appear positive. Locum coverage for internal medicine and surgery are currently in place to provide the service.

3. Health Authority participating in development of Medical School

Vice chairperson and board member Russell Whitney reported the MRHA is actively involved in the development of a Medical School to be based in Saint John. The MRHA has representatives from the Board, administration and medical staff sitting on the various committees established to develop the medical school. Mr. Whitney represents the Board on the Steering Committee.

He reported the Steering Committee had met on four occasions and will be meeting again in April. “The plans are going well,” said Whitney. He indicated the MRHA’s involvement will be very positive for the region as medical students will have the opportunity to work and complete clinical rotations at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. “It has been shown that medical students are more likely to stay and practice in a region where they have received their training,” says Whitney.

The MRHA is partnering with the Department of Health, the Atlantic Health Sciences Centre, River Valley Health Authority, the Southeast Regional Health Authority, Dalhousie University, Memorial University and UNB Saint John in this project. The government has indicated it would like the medical school to be operational by September 2007.

4. CT Scanner to be temporarily out of service while new scanner is installed

In order to install the new state-of-the-art 64 slice CT Scanner, the service will be temporarily unavailable from March 1 to 12. Arrangements have been made with the Georges Dumont Hospital to provide emergency service during this time. CT service will resume the week of March 13. “We regret the inconvenience this may cause,” says Marilyn Underhill, vice president of professional services.

The new 64 slice CT Scanner will replace the current 1 slice Scanner at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. The CT scanner is used to produce thin cross-sectional images that are used in many diagnostic imaging exams such as spine and head, gastrointestinal and vascular. “The new multi-slice canner will also be much faster in acquiring all necessary data to produce images,” says Underhill. She says the faster scanning minimizes the effects of patient movement during scanning and provides better images especially for trauma victims and pediatric patients.

5. Health Authority to launch phone-line for patients without a family doctor.

Gary Foley, President and CEO informed the Board that the MRHA is currently in the process of developing a phone line where patients who do not have a family doctor can call and leave their information. “This information will be used to determine an accurate number of patients in the region who do not have a family doctor and assist us in our recruitment efforts,” says Foley. The phone line will become operational in March and the community will be informed through a publicity campaign.

6. French Language Profile increases

The Francophone Liaison Committee reported the MRHA’s current linguistic profile is improving. The number of bilingual positions filled has increased from 71% in October 2005 to 76% in February 2006. The increase is due in part to employees from Public Health and Mental Health joining the MRHA.

7. Committee congratulates members of the First Nations Community

The Board congratulated two members of its First Nations Liaison committee on receiving an Atlantic Canada Award. Rita Martin, community health representative from Eel Ground and Madeline Augustine, community health representative from Red Bank recently received appreciation awards from the Atlantic All Chiefs. The awards are given in recognition of the contribution they have made to significantly improve the health of First Nations people in Atlantic First Nations communities.

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