Dustin Duncan says the region will have to tighten its budget belt and look for efficiencies to save money.
The region said Monday that it needs $21 million to meet the government's target that no one waits longer than six months for surgery by March 2013.
It said it will have to perform 5,000 more surgeries this year to meet that goal, and that's why it needs extra money.
Duncan says he'll be keeping an eye on a revised surgical initiative plan from the health region to make sure things get back on track.
He says there's been progress on wait lists in other health regions and none of them have asked for more money.