Health care faces more cuts

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Laurent Robillard-Cardinal


Laurent Robillard-Cardinal

The CISSSO’s next board meeting, March 10, will likely include analyzing their next budget. “We are anticipating cuts by the province of roughly $20 million,” said Geneviève Côté, Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) spokesperson. All of Pontiac’s health-care services are now run under the CISSSO.
The CISSSO’s budget is dependent upon Québec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão’s next and third budget, due March 17, a dozen days before the new fiscal year,
April 1.
“We have a $8 million deficit and our objective is to balance the budget by March 31, 2017. It’s a challenge to manage such a budget, but we are confident,” said Côté.
Formed a year ago by the forced merger of five regional CSSSs (Collines, Gatineau, Papineau, Pontiac, and Vallée-de-la-Gatineau), CISSSO has a budget just under $790 million.
The board has consistently claimed it will be able to deal with the cuts and eventually balance the budget, without affecting services; it will unveil the plan to manage the cuts in coming weeks.
Last year, the CISSSO’s DG, Jean Hébert, brought forward his plan in
mid-May. At that time, the board had to deal with almost $20 million in cuts,
coupled with an operating deficit of $11.5 million.
“We are dealing with the cuts. Some positions were not renewed; a new phone system will improve our operations; we modified other tasks to optimize our resources,” said Côté. The CISSSO also reduced its managerial staff from
75 to 37.
Cost-saving measures will be analyzed at the board meetings which follow the new fiscal year. The first is on April 7, followed by May 5, June 9 and June 15, during which the board will adopt its financial statements.
Prior to the CISSSO’s creation, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette had placed the CSSS de Gatineau under tutelage after it was unable to present a balanced budget
in 2015.