The Horizon health Network is one year into a five year plan, and John McGarry, the chief executive officer rated performance so far at a B – then changed his mind, "maybe it's a C+."
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At a board meeting on Thursday, McGarry said there is lots of room for improvement, but getting mixed messages from the government doesn't help.
McGarry says those mixed messages over the past few weeks have left the Horizon Network unable to make decisions on future spending.
"A few weeks ago it was, 'health care's going to be protected'. Then a week or so ago it was, 'Well, health care's got some efficiencies it can do,' and then today I hear, 'health care is going to be cut,'" said McGarry.
"And I'm thinking well it went from protected, to efficiencies, to cut — what is it? So that's why we haven't done any work on our budget, because we have no idea what any of that language means."
Horizon Health Network's budget last year was over $500 million and at its quarterly board meeting on Thursday, members heard the need for more even money to pay for a $30 million list of infrastructure problems.
Room for improvement
"Things like roofs or HVAC systems, those kind of things are on our deferred maintenance list, but often don't get addressed until something critical happens with them," said Andrea Seymour, Horizon's vice–president corporate.
The board also heard about successes in meeting cleanliness targets, but failures in reducing wait times for youths with mental health problems.
The target is 90 days, but the reality is 11 months. However, the number of mental health patients under the age of 17 waiting in Moncton has been reduced from 180 to 40.
The emergency room wait times for patients rated level 3 — meaning those with less urgent needs that can escalate — is 1.5 hours. That's three times higher than the national average of 30 minutes.
Wait times for cardiac electrophysiology has a target of 90 days set by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. A New Brunswick patient can wait 440 days.