Monday, November 21, 2011

Fiscal responsibility is good for patient care

Operational Sustainability Plan is about maintaining and improving our ability
to invest in patient needs in our hospital

By John Aldis, Vice-President,
Corporate & Post Acute Services, and Chief Financial Officer, RVHS

Our hospital is investing in the current and long-term health care needs of our communities in west Durham and east Toronto.

This of course, is what we should be doing. But it’s important to remember that our organization has not always reinvested in direct patient care, replaced equipment or maintained facilities at the level required.  So we are still playing catch up.

The fact that we now can, and are, investing in our hospital is the result of clear financial plans supporting our Strategic Plan-On-A-Page, collaboration and teamwork, and a “can do” culture of accountability we have cultivated over the last three to four years.

In that time, Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) has moved from having zero cash on hand and being stalled on investment – for even basic needs such as boilers and roofing – to generating the operating surpluses that we so desperately need to maintain facilities and invest in current and future patient needs.

Fiscal 2011/12 marks the first year of our Operational Sustainability Plan (OSP), the logical evolution of our successful Deficit Elimination Plan (DEP), which lived up to its name and was successfully completed in March 2011.  The OSP will help guide us through the next three years; building on the platform we built with our DEP.  In alignment with our Strategic Plan On-A-Page and our Patient Declaration of Values, the OSP will allow RVHS to increase our regular annual investment in capital needs and fund additional major capital items, including big ticket medical and diagnostic equipment, information systems, and facilities infrastructure.

- But what does that mean for patients? -
An example of what this means to patients, is the accelerated purchase of our new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner at Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital campus.  We were able to fund the MRI upfront, while the RVHS Foundation collects on the pledges from its tremendous fundraising campaign over the next few years. Without the cash reserves we have accumulated over the last three years and stronger working capital position, our patients and their families would have waited longer for in-hospital MRI in their community.

The OSP will allow us to continue to invest in new equipment, technology, and our facilities, as well as expand our services to care for more patients, as our communities continue to grow in east Toronto, Pickering, Ajax and Whitby.

There are always risks and challenges, especially in these financially constrained times. But we are taking a proactive approach to financial risk management, as part of our OSP. The plan has specific risk mitigation plans built in and gives us the ability to adjust and protect our financial stability if actual events are worse than we planned, or invest even more if events turn out to be more favorable.

Our critical success factors are:
·      Reaching for the top – that is, achieving top-quartile performance in the many areas in which we are measured provincially. We will achieve this by benchmarking against the best in all that we do, such as: minimizing infection rates, reducing wait times, improving patient outcomes, and finding ways to reduce our costs through continuous Lean-based performance improvements;
·      Further ingraining Lean as our management philosophy and approach to innovation and constant improvement for patients;
·      Enhancing and sustaining our revenue streams, such as parking, retail operations, outpatient diagnostic and other revenues, and better access to insurance-covered private rooms; and
·      Anticipating risks through proactive financial management and fiscal accountability – to make sure our patients continue to get the highest value for their tax dollars.

For more on the OSP, take a look at my presentation to hospital leaders at both hospital sites in September and October at our Leadership Forum. 

- Major Capital Plan -
Complementing the Operational Sustainability Plan is our three-year Major Capital Plan (MCP). This plan provides a road map for our major capital investments between 2011 and 2014.

The MCP selection process, carried out as a team with all areas of the hospital, identified 83 items worth about $57.3 million. Of that, already 37 items worth about $20 million have been approved by our management and Board of Directors, including:
·      Cardiac catheterization lab replacement;
·      Intensive care unit patient central monitoring equipment;
·      Mental health unit renovations;
·      Information technology infrastructure; and
·      27 facilities infrastructure repairs/replacements.

Our ability to continue to invest in more items on our Major Capital Plan is directly linked to our success in implementing the Operational Sustainability Plan. We have outperformed our Deficit Elimination Plan over the last three years working as one team, inspired and involved.  I have no doubt we will execute our Operational Sustainability Plan with the same zeal.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

simple and well put, thanks for sharing.