Eastern Health Highlights Progress in 2020-21 Annual Performance Report

September 29, 2021 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health held its annual general meeting (AGM) today, hosted by Leslie O’Reilly, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and David Diamond, President and CEO. During the AGM, Eastern Health provided an overview of its performance in 2020-21, completing the first fiscal year of the organization’s Strategic Plan for 2020-23, Putting Excellence into Action.

“The 2020-21 fiscal year was an extraordinary year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, we have continued to make significant progress towards the objectives outlined in our Strategic Plan 2020-23,” said Mr. O’Reilly. “Our annual performance report highlights progress made this past year across the organization by Eastern Health’s employees and physicians during an unprecedented time in health care. Through their dedication, diligence, and responsive planning to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to advance our strategic priorities so that patients, residents and clients can continue to receive high-quality care and services through a renewed approach to excellence and innovation.”

Putting Excellence into Action outlines five priority areas in which Eastern Health’s performance is measured, including Access, Quality and Safety, Population Health, Healthy Workplace, and Sustainability. Below are some highlights of the organization’s performance in each of these areas.

Access: Eastern Health began exploring opportunities to expand access to primary health care through public-private partnerships as well as integrating nurse practitioner and nursing resources into private community family practice. As well, to address wait times in adult and child psychiatry, Eastern Health has enhanced its use of virtual care which has made accessing appointments easier by using technology such as home-based telehealth, that takes place in the client’s home, or another convenient location. It allows clients to use their own technology for a virtual visit allowing them to see, hear, and talk to their health-care provider without ever having to leave their home. Although wait times were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is expected that process improvements such as those implemented during 2020-21 will result in reductions in wait times going forward.

Quality and Safety: Eastern Health is working to reduce the potentially inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics for seniors living in long-term care homes. These medications are commonly used to manage some symptoms of dementia. Through the development of an action plan, the number of residents prescribed these medications have been reduced. As well, Eastern Health is committed to Client-and-Family-Centered Care (CFCC) which ensures that patients, clients, residents, and families have a voice to become active partners in the delivery of health care.

Population Health: Eastern Health initiated work on three out of the five collaborative initiatives planned throughout the 2020-23 strategic planning cycle. This included preliminary work on the Healthy City Strategy as well as an Eastern Health Board Virtual Conference on Population Health, and Eastern Health’s Food Strategy which included support for Food First NL’s Urban Food Assessment.

Healthy Workplace: Eastern Health strives to provide its employees, physicians, and volunteers with the resources and support necessary to achieve personal wellness, professional growth, and excellence. For the 2020-23 strategic planning cycle, the organization is focusing on increasing support for psychological self-care, psychological job fit, civility and respect, clarity of leadership and expectations and protection of physical safety.

Sustainability: Eastern Health is committed to leveraging inventive ideas, technologies and processes to increase efficiencies and reduce its environmental impact. Eastern Health is committed to leading and supporting innovation that contributes to the achievement of its strategic goals. As a result, Eastern Health led an increase in the gross domestic product within the province which amounted to $12.2 million in 2020-21 up from $4.5 million in 2019-20. The substantial increase was attributed, in part, to increased innovation activities by vendor partners as well the economic activity associated with the introduction of Eastern Health’s Living Lab and ongoing involvement in clinical trials across most medical disciplines. Additionally, Eastern Health has reduced its environmental impact through the reduction in carbon emissions by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and recapturing anesthetic gas by 1,977 tonnes in 2020-21 in comparison to the year prior. Eastern Health has also worked to eliminate waste by reducing the use of StyrofoamTM in rural retail and patient food services.

“I am incredibly proud of our employees, physicians, managers, volunteers and partners who have continued to work tirelessly to adapt to this exceptional year,” said Mr. Diamond. “In addition to the tremendous amount of work that has been completed this year in public health, substantial work has been completed throughout all programs areas during the first year of our new strategic plan to reach our goals during these unprecedented times. We will continue to keep these goals and objectives as pillars for which we can effect positive change within our health system while continuing to look for new and innovative ways to improve the health of our population.”

The Annual Performance Report 2020-2021 is available in its entirety on Eastern Health’s website at www.easternhealth.ca/about-us/achieving-our-aim along with a summary of highlights from the 2020-21 fiscal year.

About Eastern Health

Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees, over 600 medical staff, and is supported by approximately 2,000 volunteers, including members of numerous auxiliaries and fundraising foundations. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, the authority offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long- term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Serving a population of over 300,000, Eastern Health’s geographic boundaries extend west from St. John’s to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.

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Last updated: 2021-10-01