The Redvers Health Centre

Status of Redvers hospital upgraded

January 21, 2019 8:13 am
Kara Kinna

The status of the Redvers hospital has been upgraded, with the province changing the classification of the facility from a Category B facility to a Category A facility.

This change came after the Redvers Health Foundation approached the province regarding the services being offered at the hospital, and the province agreed that the hospital qualified as a Category A facility. This change was approved effective Jan. 7, 2019 by the Rural Emergency Coverage Program Committee, which has representation from the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the Ministry of Health and Saskatchewan Health Authority.

What is the difference between a Category A and B facility?

“It designates response time for the emergency department,” says Greg Ottenbreit, the Minister of Rural and Remote Health. “It brings it down to 15 to 30 minutes instead of 30 to 45 minutes to a response for an emergency.

“And they do that through retention of the high quality physicians that they have there. They have three physicians able to carry on emergency services, but with the designated funding, it’s better for retaining those high quality physicians to be able to deliver that service.

“There is additional funding for the hospital to cover those needs.”

In recognition of this faster response being required, physicians at Category A facilities receive enhanced remuneration from the Ministry of Health while on-call.

“There are designations for hospitals. Most hospitals are A hospitals. Moosomin would be an A hospital. When Redvers was closed for about five years, when it started up again they classified it as a B hospital because they weren’t sure what it was going to start up and do,” explains Spence Sutter, who is the chair of both the Redvers Health Foundation and the South East Medical Society—two organizations made up of local municipalities that oversee services and funding for the Redvers hospital.

“They decided to put it back up to an A hospital because it is basically doing all the services and treatments that are required by an A hospital.

“And there are certain things that are required, and that is on-call and emergency care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that the doctors have to be within 15 minutes of the hospital—they have to be accessible.

“So if you had our doctors driving out from Estevan or Weyburn to here, they wouldn’t be considered close enough to do on-call or for emergency services.

“The other thing that comes into play is the B hospitals aren’t paid as much for the services in the emergency care or in the hospital.

“It basically has nothing to do with clinic or clinic fees, but if there is an emergency and someone has to come in through the hospital, through the emergency for minor or major care, the services actually done by the doctors in an A hospital are actually paid a little more than in a B hospital.”

Sutter says this helps with retaining doctors.

“It’s also good when you are hiring doctors in rural areas. Smaller centres have a hard time retaining doctors because they are not classified as an A hospital and don’t have the services there. This makes it a little better.

“I think it’s significant in the fact that they are recognizing it as an A hospital for long term services that are offered here. If the doctors come up with a service that they want offered here, they will have more of a chance of getting it in an A hospital.”

The status change hasn’t changed any of the services at the Redvers hospital. The upgrade reflects the consistency and reliability of the current services offered at the facility, and does not result in any additional funding to the facility nor any enhancement in hours of operation. The hospital was already offering 24-hour emergency services, which is what prompted them to approach the Minister of Rural and Remote Health about having the hospital’s designation changed.

Minister Ottenbreit came to Redvers to tour the facility on September 29.

“Quite often communities will make their way into Regina to visit with us here and bring forward some of their concerns or requests, and we don’t always like people having to come see us. It’s good to get out and see people in their home towns,” says Ottenbreit.

“That’s one thing we strive to do through my office is to do community tours, whether it’s in the north or rural area, to go see people not only in their homes but also to see the facilities, talk to front line workers, and tour the facility so we have a better understanding of the facility and the challenges and successes they are having.

“We did a tour of the facility (in Redvers), we went and visited out there. One of the other things we talked about was challenges with EMS and EMS coverage, which the rural areas we know are having those challenges, which is why we are right in the middle of restructuring EMS and how it’s delivered in the province.”

He said Redvers requested the change from a B to an A hospital, and the Ministry reviewed it.

“They had initially requested the change. Through my office we met with them and acknowledged the request and worked with our partners within the ministry and health authority to make sure that we could initiate that change and deliver the services.
“Basically the change was made to fulfill their request and it has to be based on the requirement of the community as well. The numbers are showing us they did have a solid case for requesting the change and it was acknowledged as a reasonable request and it was fulfilled.

“I think it’s quite significant. They already have a pretty good response time, but being constant and having an even quicker response should the need allow, I think it just gives them confidence in the system. But also I think from our perspective, it shows that I think they feel that they are being heard, they are not being neglected.

“Years in the past we saw a constant pullback of services throughout rural Saskatchewan and in the north. That’s one reason why former Premier Brad Wall decided to make a designated office for Rural and Remote Health, to focus on some of those needs, because we do have a lot of rural and remote population.

“We want to focus on the needs of communities, whether it’s physician recruitment and retention—this is one example of an initiative that will help that—and whether it’s enhancing services, enhancing facilities, construction of new facilities in rural Saskatchewan, not closing facilities but actually replacing some rural facilities, enhancing services, attracting more professionals.

“We have over 900 more doctors in the province, a lot of those practicing in rural and remote areas, 3,700 more nurses of all designations, about 800 more front-line workers in long-term care throughout the province, so this is one way to continue that commitment to rural Saskatchewan, to make sure they know that services are being either sustained or approved, and to continue to pay attention to those needs throughout rural Saskatchewan and continue to commit to improving the system.

“They (Redvers) are a full emergency room delivery. The big thing is recruiting and retaining those physicians. It’s pretty hard to sustain those levels of service if you have a constant turnover of physicians. But if we know they are happy there, they are fairly compensated for the service they are provided, they are more apt to hang on to them and they are going to be able to deliver those services and respond.”

The Redvers Health Centre operates with three full-time doctors who share the on-call services. The centre is an integrated facility that includes acute care, 24-hour emergency service, long-term care, occupational and physical therapy, public health, home care, a medical clinic, lab and X-ray services, counselling and mental health services.

There are seven acute care beds in the facility and 24 long-term care beds.