Shared Health says ending more than 50 contracts with external vendors will save Manitoba $7.5M

Shared Health has ended dozens of contracts with external vendors in another bid to slash costs.

The Manitoba health-care entity has closed more than 50 contracts that provided project and administrative supports in areas such as document management, software implementation and project management, Shared Health CEO Lanette Siragusa said in an email.

These projects and initiatives, some of which were signed with out-of-province vendors, have either concluded or will now be assumed by Shared Health itself.

The organization expects to save $7.5 million annually from these changes.

Siragusa said Shared Health ended the contracts as part of its effort to redirect resources from administration to the front lines of the health-care system.

As part of that work, Shared Health has also slashed a number of jobs in its administrative branch.

The restructuring, which took place in May, led to the elimination of approximately 24 non-union administrative positions. Ten of those employees were laid off, while the remainder accepted jobs in different “priority areas” of the organization, Siragusa said.

Shared Health expects to save $1 million annually as a result of that move.

“These were difficult decisions but necessary to ensure we are able to invest and focus on our mandate, including high-priority areas that support improved access, quality care and outcomes for patients,” Siragusa told CBC News last week.

She said patient care won’t be impacted by the changes. 

Mandated to cut bureaucracy

Shared Health’s push to find efficiencies follows a provincial mandate to reduce the size of the health-care bureaucracy. 

In a February letter to Shared Health’s board, Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara mandated the organization to direct resources toward patient care, “rather than the excessive health-care bureaucracy.”

It was reported in April that Shared Health merged its recruitment, retention and training resources, which resulted in some employees who focused primarily on attending career fairs and online outreach being let go. Shared Health wouldn’t reveal how many.

Shared Health was created in 2018 during an overhaul of the health-care system by the former Progressive Conservative government, which said the organization was intended to co-ordinate health-care delivery and planning across the province.

The NDP promised during the campaign leading up to last fall’s provincial election that it would cut administration at Shared Health.