Manitoulin Health Centre receives base funding increase from province

ONTARIO—While provincial politicians and the Minister of Health and Long Term Care differ on what the hospital funding figures provided for hospitals within Ontario are, the chief executive officer of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) says the funding being provided is good news.

“As we had been told previously, we will be receiving a two percent increase to our base funding (a total of $279,900),” stated Derek Graham, chief executive officer of the MHC, on Tuesday. “That’s certainly good news.” He said he understand the $20 million Innovation Fund would continue and be accessible this year as well.

“It is very good that the province is maintaining the two percent increase to base funding as it will cover our inflation costs and such things as hospital drugs and supplies and wage settlements, but there will likely not be much left for capacity building,” said Mr. Graham.

Dr. Eric Hoskins, minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced on May 5 that Ontario will invest an additional $518 million in public hospitals this year to provide faster access to health care, expand crucial services and procedures and to improve the experience of patients.

Dr. Hoskins announced that this overall 3.1 percent increase in public hospital funding proposed in the 2017 budget will directly benefit patients at every public hospital across Ontario and would provide more access to cardiac services, critical care, organ/tissue donations and transplants, rare disease care, and bariatric services, as well as support for new and redeveloped hospitals; improve access and reduce wait times for chemotherapy, stroke treatments, hip and knee replacements and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and support service delivery by hospitals in high-growth communities, as well as small, medium, Northern and rural hospitals and mental health and standalone pediatric hospitals.

“By increasing our investment in each and every publicly funded hospital in Ontario, patients will be able to connect with specialists faster, have reduced wait times and better access to the procedures they need close to home,” said Dr. Hoskins.

Each of Ontario’s 145 public hospitals will receive a minimum of two percent increase in funding in 2017-2018, Dr. Hoskins announced.

However, the NDP member for Timiskaming-Cochrane argued in the legislature last week over how much money hospitals are getting. New Democrat John Vanthof said hospitals have had their budgets frozen for years so the latest increase, after inflation, amounts to very little.

“From a standpoint of how the budget will translate to hospitals, we are going to be receiving the two percent base increase and the size of the envelope being provided by the province for infrastructure that hospitals can apply for will remain the same,” said Mr. Graham. “The funding we are being provided will allow us to maintain what we have, but no new involvements or new programs.”

“It would be nice if hospitals could receive the one percent stabilization funding being provided by the province as well,” Mr. Graham told the Recorder, “and if hospitals could participate and glean savings from the hydro kickbacks. So far hospitals are not included, it seems the funding is  geared more for home services rather than institutional, but it would  be a welcome offset.”