MHC receives additional funding for hospital repairs and upgrades

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) has received a portion of the additional funding being provided by the province to address the critical need for hospital repairs across the province.

“We had received notice of our original funding through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) of $130,000,” said Derek Graham, chief executive officer (CEO) of the MHC, last Friday. He explained, “we then applied for an additional one-time funding allocation and have now received an additional $306,000 for a total amount of $436,000. We just got confirmation of these funds.”

The funding, “was part of the province’s announcement of increased funding for hospital repairs and upgrades,” said Mr. Graham.

Ontario is providing $175 million in 2016-2017 to hospitals across the province-an increase of $50 million over last year’s funding-to keep them in a state of good repair so patients can continue to receive high-quality care in a safe and healthy environment.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement on Thursday of last week at Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital). “Many hospitals need to repair or replace roofs, windows and fire alarms,” she said. “Our government has more than tripled our investment in this crucial infrastructure to ensure that patients can continue to receive high-quality care in a safe and healthy environment.”

“Many hospitals need to repair or replace roofs, windows and fire alarms”

The government increased funding for hospital renewal from $56 million in 2013-2014 to $125 million in each of the following two years. This year the province will provide an additional $50 million in funding to help address the critical need for hospital repairs across the province. Across Ontario, 135 hospitals will receive HIRF funding to support crucial infrastructure projects to extend the useful life or improve the quality of their facilities. Projects may include upgrades or replacements to roofs, windows, HVAC systems, fire alarms and back-up generators.

Ontario also plans to invest $12 billion over 10 years in capital grants to hospitals to build modern infrastructure. About 35 major hospital projects are now underway across the province. Ontario is also increasing province­––wide funding to hospitals this year by more than $345 million. This is part of a total investment of $51.8 billion in health care-a two percent increase over last year.

Mr. Graham explained, “the program itself, HIRF, is a fund that we have often benefitted from. Originally with the $130,000 we had received, it was less than we had received last year. So we applied for additional funding under an exceptional services claim. We had some repairs had to make to shore up the roof area at the Little Current site adjacent to where the emergency department services work is being completed and other word related to that,” continued Mr. Graham. “And at the Mindemoya site we needed the funding for the fuel tank storage and some other necessary work, such as new metal doors and exterior doors replacement.”

“This additional funding is great news,” stated Mr. Graham. However, he cautioned, “things will be challenging for the next year, without a doubt. The original planning numbers (HIRF funding) for next year is quite low, $39,700, and we still have a long list of infrastructure needs. This is reflective of the situation across the province; where those hospitals with aging infrastructure compared to others will be receiving more financial assistance. That is why the HIRF funding is a great investment by the government because it prevents hospitals from getting to that state.”

“With this new and important funding, we are working to ensure that we are building a health care system that delivers faster access today and a sustainable system that will be there for Ontario patients in the future,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “Making these necessary investments are part of our commitment to put patients first by ensuring that they get the high-quality health care they need-when they need it.”