Hospitals continue to wait for promised small and rural funding

QUEEN’S PARK—Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas rose in the Ontario legislature last week to share the concerns of the province’s small and rural hospitals, including the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC).

“It is my pleasure to share with the House an issue happening in all of our small and rural hospitals, “ said Ms. Gelinas. “The small and rural hospitals are the ones that serve many of the people in my riding, in rural areas and in northern areas. They were promised a two percent increase in their budget. Unfortunately, they continue to receive the same amount as what they were receiving in the previous year, although they have signed accountability agreements that clearly showed a budget with a two percent increase. But they are not getting this money,” said Ms. Gelinas.

She explained, “another problem that you will remember, Speaker, is that there is $20 million going into small and rural hospitals for the innovation funds. Those funds also come with contracts that the hospitals have signed. The hospitals are working on those projects. Unfortunately, this money is also not flowing,” said Ms. Gelinas.

Derek Graham, chief executive officer of the MHC, told the Recorder late last week, “we received a portion of the funding, a pro-rated amount (of the two percent increase promised by the province), and we have received notice that the rest is to flow. Our finance department will let me know when this comes through.”
“But we are still looking for clarity from the government,” Mr. Graham added.

As for the $20 million for small hospitals for the innovation funds, “It is our understanding that all project funding is being discussed and need blessing to get them out the door. A briefing is supposed to take place this week. We are certainly concerned about this funding envelope as well and are looking into it and more information.”
“I have had the pleasure to ask the Minister of Health for help on this issue,” said Ms. Gelinas. “I am hoping that help will come soon, because we have close to 50 little hospitals right now that are wondering if the agreements that they have signed with the government will be honoured or if they will all be looking at deficit budgets.”