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Examining the SAH surplus

Thursday, January 23, 2014   by: Staff has received the following open letter from a loyal reader who has some concerns about the Sault Area Hospital's recently announced surplus.

The SAH has a surplus of over 1 million dollars and are asking the staff and public what to do with it?
Let's back up a bit and ask how they came up with this surplus.
The New SAH is a 289 bed, 408 million dollar venture.
They are currently running somewhere around 230 beds counting cribs, and depending who you ask.
Getting a straight answer from anyone at the hospital is like trying to break into Fort Knox or getting a straight answer from our Liberal MPP David Orazietti!!!
While they talk about surplus they never tell the public at least officially that they never opened a whole floor when the hospital first opened.
So it begs the question, are we funded for a 289 bed hospital or not?  
If so, its not hard to figure out where the surplus came from, but who knows for sure.
Hospital funds seem to be top secret even if its our tax dollars.
Next question?
The Crillion company, who financed, built and runs most, if not all the Support Services, how are they paid is that one of the reasons we have a surplus of money, again good luck finding the answers.
So, Senior staff shouldn't break their arms trying to pat themselves on the back, while poor seniors lay in emerg for hours, even days, waiting for a bed or get discharged too early because the hospital is tying to make themselves look good.
To who? I'm thinking it's the LHIN's.
Now there's a waste of health care dollars.
The Liberal Bureaucracy at work again.
And last but not least I hope the CEO's salary reflects his responsibility since Crillion is in charge of most everything in the building except patient services.
We shall see just how responsible the Hospital Board is, when the Hundred Thousand Dollar Club comes out.
David Harasymiw
Local Health Coalition
D​isclaimer: The content supplied by readers as "Letters to the Editor" on does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.


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golfer23 1/23/2014 9:12:41 PM Report

SAH is all smoke and mirrors. Maybe they should put the money back into areas from which they cut staff and eliminated services. I know people in areas right now that are part time and are only scheduled 8 hrs every 2 weeks because of hours being eliminated, how is that even considered part time. NO wonder they have a surplus...those folks will actually owe the hospital money after the 8 hour shift...union dues, parking , taxes, etc...excellent way to generate revenue, collect it from you employee's
Justin Tetreault 1/23/2014 9:22:41 PM Report

Shocking. David Harasymiw who was upset the hospital was being built to begin with is upset that it is successful.

It seems like Soo Today now just publishes articles from people who are forced to send them in because none of their friends want to hear their bitching anymore.
JustMe1234567 1/23/2014 9:40:51 PM Report

Yes I have a suggestion for the surplus. We have a large amount of seniors in B wing on the main floor who were moved over from the Plummer Hospital. (thank god they got them out of there)

I was horrified when I had a family member there.

Those poor seniors have been waiting in there for a year or more to be moved into nursing care! That is unacceptable.

Is this the way we want to be treated when we are seniors. I sure don`t! So I feel I have to say something.

A staff member told me the area was supposed to be palliative but instead they corralled all those poor dear seniors into there for their long wait.

Because this section was meant to be palliative there is no dining room for them all, there is no large rooms at all for that matter, The TV room is tiny, many are in rooms of 4.

Day after day after day.

And keep in mind once they are on the list for a nursing home SAH charges them for the bed same as a nursing home would!

It is completely unfair to do that to these people when there is no where near the facilities available to them if they were in a real nursing home. I think it is a disgrace.

Go visit a senior in B1, they are lined up in the halls around the nurses station, especially those that need a lot of care. There is nowhere else for them to go besides back to their room.

Sad state of affairs and should be rectified ASAP. ESPECIALLY IF THESE ELDERS ARE BEING CHARGED RENT TO BE THERE!

HONEST1 1/23/2014 9:54:51 PM Report

good4now 1/23/2014 10:00:58 PM Report

Budget Surplus, Really...
This seems a case where services were reduced so excessively that they did not fully spend the money that was provided by the government.
Beds not opened, nursing services reduced below tolerable levels, to save money. Perhaps they could close 20 or 30 more beds and enjoy an even larger "surplus".
Management has a duty to provide the best level of health care that is possible within the ability of the government to fund. Clearly they have failed in this responsibility.
Usually managers are rewarded for coming in under budget...I wonder? But of course subsequent budgets are trimmed and even less funding is provided.
S.M.A.R.T. 1/23/2014 10:12:04 PM Report

Justin, I didn't know anything about David Harasymiw, but thanks to you I now have faith in the man. Anti new hospital and suspicious of a proclaimed SAH surplus? Right on David! Keep up the good work! You have very valid concerns.

JustMe, I wish you were wrong, but sadly I believe you. Repugnant if indeed seniors are being treated so callously.

Honest 1 and good4now, you make excellent points.
JustMe1234567 1/23/2014 10:15:23 PM Report

Parking cost- another bad thing for the poor old people stuck there. Visits are few and far between. Not many other seniors or friends at that age can or want to pay 5 bucks every time they want to visit.
Just keeps people lonelier in there.

Again I feel shame that our community treats seniors this way. But you have to see it to believe it.

Beej 1/23/2014 10:15:26 PM Report

Having a surplus if all the bases are covered is one thing, but this is far from the case here.
If the place was being run the way it should be there would be no surplus.
The place is noticeably understaffed and patients are suffering for it in many ways.
Ski-Dude 1/23/2014 10:27:35 PM Report

Dude, get over it. They are just smarter than us! Jealous much?
Vicci 1/23/2014 10:34:28 PM Report

I thought the surplus was used to purchase masks for staff??? Buy a round of home make chicken noodle soup for the patients. That would be a good start. Better yet, treat it like a bonus for senior management. Oh the possibilities.
soowat 1/23/2014 10:50:27 PM Report

Justin Tetreault

If you look at the top of the item you will see that it is stated that this is a letter to the editor. Any responsible news outlet publishes letters with very few caveats.

The writer may not be a fan of the government in general and David O in particular but so what. He may offend your blind loyalty to all things Liberal but you need to suck it up and try to join the adults 1/23/2014 10:50:30 PM Report

SAH is a major waste of space and money . Nurses with a 2 patient load left my husband's post-op bed bath for me to do , and told me they did that....over worked ??? Parking charge is a disgrace . When my father was dying , I was asked to help with things that caused me to see and do things no grown woman should have to do or see with their aged father . Empty rooms with computers abound . People with one sheet of paper clickety clack the 1/4 mile long hall in their heels , looking important . sheet of paper. I saw this too many times while I was there . Try calling, and dealing with the voice prompts ! The core of the entire building is offices . Patients are left put in the back 40 . And good luck finding the nurse for the patient you are there to visit , my experience says that person is on a break . I fell on a slippery surface at the back door, and fell . I ended up in the E.R. with a sprained knee. The hospital refused to pay for cleaning my wool coat !! Compassion ?? Not at S.A.H.
Justin Tetreault 1/23/2014 11:43:58 PM Report

I like how he makes a big deal about "Carillion is in charge of everything but the patient services." Or, you know, the most important and biggest job in a hospital.
Pakadeva 1/24/2014 12:29:49 AM Report

SAH surplus, ya, hard to know what to do with that!!! Seniors as someone mentioned, open ALL beds, get rid of paid parking on the backs of the sick & poor & elderly! Open up the cafeteria for an evening meal when patients familes are starving from sitting around for hours waiting for Doctors, nurses & news. STAFF! Staff the hospital properly & use a portion to teach the staff some beside manners. My Mother had the misfortune of being in there for almost 2 weeks, most of the staff were awesome, then there's the ones who skipped her baths (busy texting friends & chatting at the nurses station). I assisted her to her washroom one evening & rang the bell for staff...oh, her nurse is on break, he'll be back soon. Who takes over when he's gone? I do. Oh, so in that case, it's a lot easier to get her in the shower now than clean up here, then she's all set for the evening. Oh, you can't clean up? I'm NOT her nurse! YOU are paid to do this. Another morning, she needed the washroom around 5 AM, an hour later she needs to go just went an hour ago! OK, when I'm 87 no nurse had better tell me I had gone an hour ago...I am aged, my bladder is weak, sure I can hold it another 2 hours till staff changes. Another evening a nurse came on shift loaded with perfume. My Mom's oxygen level dropped to 70 in a rush! I quietly asked if this was a scentfree facility. Yes, it is. In that case, are you wearing perfume? No, I'm not. OK, but you are wearing something strongly scented & THAT is why her oxygen level dropped out, she is allergic/sensitive, call it what you will, but, her airways start to swell & she needs oxygen. The nurse left & didn't return. I hunted down her prior nurse before he left the hospital & he was now late leaving, but, took the time to take care of her. Staff education badly needed. Yes, I plan to make a formal complaint when enough time has passed that my Mom won't be penilized (neglected) if she enters the hospital again. GOOD idea to get public ideas of where to spend the money & also, maybe teach supervisors to actually supervise? And, bring the meal processing back to SSM not Toronto! Homemade meals instead of dried up cookies, excessive amounts of green beans, FRIES, & breaded chicken strips. Shouldn't they be ashamed to feed this to sick patients? That's enough to make you sick right there. Proper nutrition is part of the healing process. I was taking food to my Mother so she would eat something.
Koolaid 1/24/2014 12:47:02 AM Report

Everyone is out for themselves !! So stop worrying about it, and enjoy your lives !!
Ty27 1/24/2014 1:11:02 AM Report

Which unit do you speak of???
thera 1/24/2014 4:14:45 AM Report

They should not be going on the cheap for security. Those people don't get paid nearly enough (minimum wage) for the crap they have to deal with there!
dawgg007 1/24/2014 6:34:28 AM Report

Definition from Wikipedia, Hospital:
"A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment." I for one am concerned that the helm of SAH is manned by bean counters which to me indicates that money matters first. If the beds that were never put into service remain that way then how about putting the surplus into added nursing staff who are over whelmed, over worked and over taxed. These unsung heroes need relief, help and support.

Please note I am NOT a nurse but I have worked at SAH in the past so I have a bit of insight. Let's make this institution what it should be 'an institution for health care by specialized staff and equipment'. Maybe if we had a health care professional at the helm and a bean counter assisting the captain in keeping the fiscal course, we may make the definition a reality. The board of directors may need to re-evaluate their priorities. If we contacted the board, our MPP's, the Minister of Health then maybe, just maybe, we may have an institution that is a hospital first.
HowAbooutSomeLogic 1/24/2014 7:12:31 AM Report

At least these guys proved able to balance A budget.


Running anything close to 100%, though, would have had us 1Os of M$ in the hole.

If we bring a little southern ontario charm into this we just run at 100% all the time and institute another sales tax increase a la t. subway style and make the rest of ontario pay for our massive losses.

or we COULD do away w debt money consumerism, focus on Health over BigPharma Treatment all the time and dramatically reduce cost and demand for these types of resources while receiving far better overall care.

HowAbooutSomeLogic 1/24/2014 7:14:51 AM Report

btw, thanks sootoday for finally proof reading the letter and making it now seem like there's at least a chance the author's primary language is in fact english.

I'm not sure why that should offend a moderator to the point of deleting all the comments asking for english only content or, as suggested, an * that the author's got 4th gurrade lvl wri teen skillz or is just now picking up english for the first time or whathaveyou.

Or, edit it to make it intelligible and don't act like that's an insane request and delete all the complaints or, simply note the corrections for all to see.
weather man 1/24/2014 7:25:18 AM Report

My 90 old dad was in hospital for 4days and hadn't had shower for 8 days. Told emerg. and 3c desk & nurse every day.They kept putting it off. Isn't this hygiene? Also he requested his ears be cleaned so he could put his hearing aid in to hear the Doctors to make a important discussion on life threatening heart treatment. Do they Need More nurses ?
Prrrrrrr 1/24/2014 7:45:59 AM Report

IN MY OPINION (I've actually been in this situation)

They operate a hospital with an on call attitude. They open beds as needed. Staff is called in as people are admitted. For the next shift!!!Exposing people to anything and everything in emerg.
Children that should be in a special unit laying in the halls that's why Emerg is a mess, they leave people in there instead of using the beds they are being paid for.
Example: I'm admitted to the hospital...they are paid for a medical bed plus an emergency rm visit ....but I lay in emerg all night and the next day and I never actually get onto a medical floor or a hospital bed. I have all my tests done from the stretcher I have laid on for 36 hours or so...the doctor gives me a prescription, I get sent home, and return again because I am still sick or more sick because I've been exposed to every possible illness from staying so long in Emerg. Sounds like fraud doesn't it???
rxtech 1/24/2014 10:05:09 AM Report

What a disappointing read! All the negative comments and reports of inadequate care provided by the nurses, doctors and personal care staff, are disrespectful and unjustified.

I would like to commend and thank ALL the staff at SAH for what they do on a daily basis. The compassion, empathy and care that you display/provide for each and every patient, never gets noticed like it should. There is never just ONE patient that needs attention when you operate at full capacity, there is 230 and they are ALL cared for every day. So, Thank you for all you do!
Mr Cloudy 1/24/2014 10:35:21 AM Report

Spend more on emergency doctors...many times ive waited just to find out I will not be seen...? There is something wrong here, Surplus ? silly times we live in...
engineguy 1/24/2014 10:47:28 AM Report


You some sort of S.A.H. staff loser
CLT 1/24/2014 11:27:49 AM Report


rxtech is simply giving their opinion on the story.

No need for name calling.
divemedic 1/24/2014 12:13:42 PM Report

First of all, that surplus is there due to cuts and over charging people for using the only hospital we have. parking fees were lobbied against in north bay as a barrier to health care. There was no justification from the $2.00 jump up to $ 5.00. Staff reductions, beds and wings not being used, hallways stacked full of people who are sick and getting sicker while awaiting a room. Staff that are there are worked like dogs and are burning out. I am not speaking ill of those dedicated health professionals, from the housekeepers to the porters to the RPN's, RN's and all the various techs and maintenance staff. An open book of all salaried staff and expenses should be reviewed. Here is a great idea, since they built this hospital with such long hallways, how about springing for some benches for the seniors to catch their breath on.
stakeholder 1/24/2014 1:59:47 PM Report

I hear that SAH treats their employees very poorly-SAH want them to work hurt or puts them off sick-just what I hear?
derek 1/24/2014 3:51:38 PM Report

I have been to SAH 2 times in last year. yes they need more Nurses...

But all people from Janitor to Doctor took pride in their work. Maybe if people were nicer to them instead of bit&ching and moaning at the staff. I'm sure they do there best under not perfect conditions.

I have no issues except the 5 bucks for parking.. this is northern Ontario what a tax grab..
Tom_Bom 1/24/2014 4:16:25 PM Report

To me if they have a surplus that is great.

Now however, I think they should take that surplus and use it to help alleviate the overworked short staffed nurses by getting a few more nurses in there.

The second thing they should do is take the other half of that money, and get a few more beds, because it's obvious to anyone who's ever been in emerge that there isn't quite enough space. I've seen people with an IV looking very sick, having to lay on a stretcher in the hallway. Imagine what that must feel like!

So to summarize as to what they should do with the surplus:

1) Throw the nurses a bone and get a few more of them there, because they are truly overstaffed, overworked, and therefore overstressed. And considering the service they do, they don't need to be feeling that way.

2) Get more beds/private places to put people, that aren't in the middle of a hallway.

The well-being of both their staff and patients should be their number one priority, in my humble opinion. SAH, you're hemorrhaging cash. Time to do something with it.

I usually recieve great service whenever I go to the SAH, but every time I end up going the nurses are under more stress than they should have to put up with, and the place is as full as it can get. Instead of worrying about monetary surplus, we should address the issues at hand. SAH isn't a business. It's a hospital. Cutting corners that end up hurting the staff and the patients is totally unacceptable.
dodi534 1/24/2014 11:16:13 PM Report

ty27 was on 300 B . email....we'll chat
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