South Eastman health merges with Central district


As of May 18, South Eastman Health will cease to exist after the board recently voted unanimously to merge with Central Region. The decision was made as a result to the province’s recent decision to reduce the number of regional health authorities from eleven to five.

South Eastman Health CEO John Stinson made the announcement April 20 after the board of directors met for a special meeting. The new regional health authority will be known as Southern Health Authority, but that could change once a new board is put into place.

“I think this is a positive step,” Stinson told media. While he assures staff there will be no changes at the ground level, he anticipates several executive positions to be eliminated in the new few weeks.

Contrary to belief, Stinson says the merger will not have a negative impact on services in the area.

“We are going to have the opportunity to collaborate with other facilities in Central,” explained Stinson. For example, surgical programs in Bethesda, Portage la Prairie, Ste. Anne and Boundary Trails Hospitals can now work together to attract surgeons’, doctors and nurses.

“That is pretty exciting for us,” he added.  “The more opportunities we offer to our staff, it makes their job more interesting, it attracts them and it keeps them here.”

While the amalgamation is expected to be a boon to health care in the region, Stinson is not sure how secure his job as chief executive officer is at this point.

“It’s still up in the air right now,” he continued. “I should find out in the next couple of weeks.”

The new amalgamated regional health authority will become the second largest region population wise, but has the smallest geographical area. Central District is based in Portage la Prairie and includes Carman, Morden Winkler and Altona.

Not only did the province reduce the number of health authorities, they also made some changed to the act governing health authorities.   Local health improvement groups are to be established and RHA’s will be required to consult with patients to identify local needs. Tighter controls on executive compensation and requirements that expense accounts be posted and made available for public review will also be implemented.

The province is also placing restrictions on rehiring former senior executives and keeping an eye on how public funded surpluses are used.

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