Not so Lean? Sask. critics attack plan to streamline health care

REGINA – By the Saskatchewan NDP’s calculation, sweeping changes to health care delivery have cost taxpayers at least $100 million.

As for what Lean is saving? The latest numbers uncovered from the Heartland Health Region show just $12,690 actually saved.

“We see patient outcomes are getting worse. Mortality rates, infection, patient satisfaction (are) all going in the wrong direction at the same time Lean is being ramped up,” said NDP leader Cam Broten.

Aside from Heartland, previous reports showed a $26,648 savings in the Cypress Health Region, $17,465 saved in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and just $131.26 in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.

Premier Brad Wall said his government’s math shows savings from Lean are more like $57 million since 2008, but it’s just not compiled into a single list.

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“So we need the regions to be reporting the savings of Lean in a total,” Wall said.

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The SaskParty government has stressed Lean isn’t only about cutting spending but reducing wasted time and energy.

Examples provided to reporters include a mental health clinic reducing the number of cancelled appointments and missing data on medication orders being eliminated in one health region.

So the true financial picture isn’t easily tallied.

“It may well be that costs still increase, but they increase at a slower rate,” said Tom McIntosh, a University of Regina health policy analyst.

McIntosh said the government will need to prove it has lowered the growth of skyrocketing health care costs.

“Or (show) the growth in health care costs is (due) to other things, that we saved money and reinvested, increased money for say, long term care facilities,” McIntosh said.

SEE BELOW: Documents provided by the Saskatchewan NDP show little financial savings from Lean in the Heartland Health Region

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