P.E.I. cabinet approves $12.5M in special warrants for Health PEI

The P.E.I. cabinet has approved more than $12.5 million dollars in special warrants to Health PEI.

'There are some unpredictable events that happen that we can't plan for.'

Health PEI says extra money was needed to cover higher than expected physician costs and out-of-province specialty care. (Canadian Press)

The P.E.I. cabinet has approved more than $12.5 million dollars in special warrants to Health PEI.

Special warrants are issued when a department or agency spends more than what was allocated in the provincial budget.

The chief operating officer for Healh PEI, Denise Lewis Fleming , said every effort is made to stay within budget, but there were some unforeseen costs in the fiscal year 2015-16.

Physician costs, out-of-province care cost higher than expected

"For example on the out-of-province health services, we had an unexpected premature baby that was delivered in Alberta so there were expenses that we had to pay to Alberta," said Lewis Fleming. 

"We also, in special circumstances, send people out of country for treatment and we did have one of those cases."

Denise Lewis Fleming says every effort is made to stay on budget (Submitted)

"We also had some pressure points on the in-province physician services side. We have had to expand our hospitalists lines at the QEH and the PCH to support patients who don't have a family doctor while they are in the hospital."

She also noted dermatology services were much higher than expected

A delicate balance

Lewis Fleming said it is a delicate balance to ensure the health care needs of Islanders are being met and reaching budget targets.

She noted sometimes the costs are just higher than expected.

Provincial officials say this means the actual year-over-year increase in health costs in 2015-16 was about 3.8 per cent, which is in line with recent 3-4 per cent annual increases.