North East Health District:

the Closure of Carrot River Hospital and Telehealth

----Nipawin - March 11, 2000 - By:Mario deSantis

erode the social and economic conditions of rural Saskatchewan

The North East Health District has recently announced the closure of the Carrot River Hospital(1).
Yesterday, this same district has presented the high-tech pilot project called Telehealth which
provides a link between Nipawin and Cumberland House(2), a northern community some two
hours away from Nipawin. I find these two events paradoxical in the sense that they provide
another glaring example of the mismanagement of our resources in healthcare and a further
direction to erode the social and economic conditions of rural Saskatchewan.



$750,000 deficit for next year

The Board Chair of the district, Margaret Anderson, has stated that the health district is
projecting a $750,000 deficit for next year and that even after the closure of the hospital the
district has to scramble to deal with its financial shortfall. Margaret Anderson confirmed that
the districts are puppets of the government when she said that "It has taken the board four years
to make this decision... If your community can change the funding process in Regina, I wish you
well -- we have tried and been told there is no more money."



Carrot River was told they would have retained the hospital

So this is the reality, The Health Districts Act purports the independence of the districts to make
their managerial and financial decisions, yet the districts are puppets of the government. In
particular, the process by which the Carrot River Hospital was closed goes against section 37(1)(2)
of The Health Districts Act which states that the district health board must have at least two general
public meetings in each fiscal year, and at one general public meeting the district must present
"an operation and expenditure plan for the next fiscal year(3)." Now, you can realize how both
the government and the district broke the law when you consider that health budgets are approved
by the government in the same month the related fiscal year expires(4) and that for the last four
years the community of Carrot River was told they would have retained the hospital services.



my faith in today's Saskatchewan government is completely gone

In disgust to the closure of the Carrot River Hospital, Reeve Stan Novogrodski has said "As
Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Moose Range No. 486, I have instructed the administrator
to take down the tattered and torn Saskatchewan flag at the Municipal Office and not to replace
it, as my faith in today's Saskatchewan government is completely gone." Mr. Novogrodski's
words are quite harsh and since they reflect the sentiments of the local population we can have
an appreciation of the untrustworthy environment in which the North East Health District and
the government are operating.



in the back

Equally upset for the closure of the hospital was Carrot River Mayor David Stanger. Mayor
Stanger said he felt betrayed by the closure after, in concert with the government, he put an
enormous amount of time into the planning of an integrated hospital and long-term-care home.
He said he blames the government of Saskatchewan for its ongoing polices in health care, and
the devious ways they achieve their policies. He stated that "we have been led by the nose through
this process, only to be stabbed in the back.



obsolete high-tech project like Telehealth

Can we ever trust any of these institutions again?" No we cannot trust this government, this
government was privately formed by giving the finger to the electorate(5), and they will continue
to give us the finger in the future as long as these kind of flip-flop people(6) are in power. I don't
find the closure of the hospital an irresponsible action per se, but I object to the breaking of the
law by both the health district and the government. I have also a strong financial objection to the
closure of the hospital when the district has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for
an obsolete high-tech project like Telehealth.



essential money for direct health care

Telehealth has been a high-tech project for at least four years, and possibly it is going to be an
ongoing obsolete project for so many years to come. Therefore, essential money for direct health
care which could have provided the retention of the hospital in Carrot River has been going down
the toilette as happened for the Saskatchewan Health Information Network(7), Stargarden payroll,
the closure of the Plains Health Centre(8) and SAP payroll(9). But the diversion of money from
direct health care to Telehealth(10) has provided another anomaly in our local economy when you
consider that money has been given away to outside businesses while a superior Internet technology
service could have been provided locally at a fraction of the cost(11).



mismanagement of health resources continues

The mismanagement of health resources continues and what is worse is that this mismanagement
is not a local rural problem confined with the North East Health District, but this mismanagement
is a social textured phenomenon affecting Saskatchewan and all other provinces as well. This social
textured phenomenon includes prominent politicians, governments, health associations, fat global
businesses, bureaucrats, bean counters and academicians. No, I am not forgetting the powerful
lawyers(12), behind the scenes they provide the glue of social injustice which pervades the province,
the country and which encourages racism(13), division among people, and a corrupted economic
direction for the benefit of the few and privileged(14).
  Quote by Donella Meadows "challenging a paradigm is not a part-time job. It is not sufficient to make your point once and then blame the world for not getting it. The world has a vested interest in, a commitment to, not getting it. The point has to be made patiently and repeatedly, day after day after day"
  General reference: Articles by Mario deSantis published by North Central Internet News


Hospital closure permanent, Carrot River 'betrayed', by Ernest Unrau, The Nipawin Journal, March 8, 2000


Technology provides health link to Cumberland House, CBC Saskatchewan Web Posted | Mar 8 2000 4:37 PM


Refer to the Bill "An Act respecting Health Districts", Section 37, Saskatchewan, The Queen's Printer, 1993


Minister of Health Pat Atkinson: breaking the law and becoming a magician, by Mario deSantis, March 4, 2000 (Note: the Minister of Health approved 24 districts'budgets for the year 1999-2000 on March 3, 2000)




Premier Roy Romanow flip-flops on Farm Aid and confirms his hypocrisy, by Mario deSantis, February 28, 2000


Saskatchewan Health Information Network-SHIN: Ignoring its mandate and diverting money for the Y2K Nightmare, by Mario deSantis, November 3, 1999


The closure of the Plains Health Centre: The $50 million overrun and the gimmick of savings money in health care, by Mario deSantis, December 19, 1999


Our leaders can't recognize an asset from a hole in the ground, by Mario deSantis, December 2, 1999


Technological changes in Saskatchewan health care: an abysmal disaster, by Mario deSantis, May 27, 1999


Worldwide Developer's Conference Begins Today, FTLComm - San Jose - May 10, 1999 by: Timothy W. Shire "...Through the wonders of QuickTime 4.0 I was able to attend the Keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose California and listen as interim CEO Steve Jobs and head of software development Avie Trevanian outline Apple's present strategy...". Published in the North Central Internet News


Letter dated May 7, 1997 from McKercher McKercher & Whitmore and response by Mario deSantis


Mayor Dayday's GNP Accounting: writing off our children, dumping people outside city limits, and building the Synchrotron, by Mario deSantis, March 1, 2000


First criminal charges laid in job grants investigation, Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief, National Post & The Telegram, March 10, 2000