March 22, 2017

Province Invests $5.2 Billion in Health Care - Government Focuses on Funding Core Services

Saskatchewan is investing $5.2 billion this year in core health services and infrastructure to meet the health care needs of Saskatchewan people.  The 2017-18 Health budget has increased $38.6 million (0.7 per cent) from 2016-17 and more than 51 per cent since 2007.

“Our government is investing in health care that supports Saskatchewan patients and families by focusing on important front-line services,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “Health system transformation and the shift to a single Provincial Health Authority will support our efforts to meet the challenges Saskatchewan is facing.  We’re committed to controlling costs, reducing administration and finding ways to provide more efficient, sustainable front-line health care services for Saskatchewan people.”

The Health budget includes $3.4 billion in funding for Regional Health Authorities (RHAs).  This is an increase of 1.2 per cent over last year and 57.9 per cent more than the RHA allocation in 2007.  It includes a new $12 million investment to address overcapacity pressures and emergency department wait times in Regina and Saskatoon, and $24.4 million in funding to address service pressures and operating costs.

Government will meet its commitment to provide additional funding to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), with a $250,000 funding increase in 2017-18.

The province is also providing $750,000 to begin a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program for boys, expanding availability of the program that began in 2008 for Grade 6 girls. 

Capital investments in 2017-18 total $83.7 million, a 17.2 per cent ($12.3 million) increase.  Affirming the province’s commitment to the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan (CHS), investments include $15.5 million for the CHS, which will also receive $8.0 million for information technology needs and $4.4 million in operating funds.  The Leader Integrated Facility will receive $6.7 million, and $3.5 million will fund electrical renewal projects at Regina General and Pasqua hospitals.

The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency will also receive more than $170 million - a $3.3 million increase in funding – to provide cancer treatment to more patients.

While individualized funding for children with autism has been deferred to the 2018-19 budget year, an Autism Working Group has been established and will be tasked with creating the Saskatchewan model for individualized funding.  The Working Group is expected to complete its work by late fall, 2017, and includes parents, service providers, and advocates from the autism community.

The province will phase out or reduce some provincial programs and services to help ensure it can continue to provide essential core services to residents.  Residents will be able to access services through the private system and in most cases, coverage for low income individuals will continue to be provided by the government.
Special care home (long-term care) fees will increase for some residents, based on income.  Approximately 50 per cent of residents will not be affected by the change and will continue to pay the minimum monthly fee.  The province will continue to subsidize 83 per cent of the overall cost of long-term care.