11/27/2014 11:06 EST | Updated 01/27/2015 05:59 EST

Deputy minister in charge of Lean appointed as head of Saskatoon health region

SASKATOON - The current Saskatchewan deputy minister in charge of Lean, which aims to streamline the health-care system, is about to become the president and CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region.

The province announced Thursday that Dan Florizone, 50, will take over the role on Jan. 5.

Former health region CEO Maura Davies was asked to step down about a month ago, with the health board noting she had indicated two years ago that she was nearing retirement and the timing was right for new leadership.

Jim Rhode, chairman of the health region board, said Florizone's commitment to the Lean process was part of the reason he was selected from a short list of six possible candidates.

Florizone said the health-care system need to do a better job of seeking out "the voice of those we serve, to understand whether we're doing a sufficient job."

The Lean approach has come under fire in the past year, with the NDP releasing a survey suggesting 71 per cent of employees and 64 per cent of doctors felt Lean was not effective in improving the quality of health care.

Florizone served as CEO for the Five Hills Health Region from 2003 to 2008 and has held similar positions in Moose-Jaw Thunder Creek, the South-East health district, and Wilkie Union Hospital.

His salary as head of the health region begins at $341,385 a year, plus benefits. He will also have the opportunity for a raise after three months.

Florizone said his first act as CEO will be to visit every health facility in the region, particularly the ones in rural Saskatchewan.