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Surprise “funding challenge’ leaves QHC with $12 million shortfall

Quinte Health Care’s board of governors places blame squarely on the province for a surprise “funding challenge” that leaves its four hospitals to face a $12 million shortfall.

In the fourth year of hospital funding reform in Ontario, QHC expected it would need to close a $7 million gap between revenues and expenses, but learned in mid-October the new funding formula was being applied faster, and hitting QHC harder than expected. QHC’s hospitals include Picton, Trenton, Bancroft and Belleville.

“This is not a QHC problem. Its a provincial problem. It’s a funding challenge, not something QHC is delighted to be managing,” said Steve Blakely, board chairman.

Mayor-elect Robert Quaiff and incoming councillors joined more than a dozen members of the public at the meeting held in Picton’s hospital, with some in the board room and a group in another room watching via video screen.

Brad Harrington, vice-president of finance told the board that if it were to remain status quo, a $30 million gap is expected in a five-year projection. Karen Baker, treasurer, reported the first six months of QHC’s fiscal year (April to September 2014) show a surplus of $388,000 before building related items, slightly higher than the $374,000 expected.

The board has directed management to create a long range plane to bring costs in line with similar hospitals. The 2015-16 operating plan and five-year vision is to be developed over the next four months with input from staff, physicians and administration. The board reports $4.3 million already identified is to go to the union and staff planning process in early December. The final plan is to go to the board for approval in April 2015.

Mary Clare Egberts

Mary Clare Egberts

Mary Clare Egberts, QHC president and CEO said changes to the 2015-16 budget so far “all pertain to regular efficiencies …is there additional revenue that we can earn? is there additional places that we can save how we spend dollars, whether through hours of service, ecetera.”

“We did get a surprise,” said Egberts. “We’ve had discussions with the ministry. They tried to be very clear about how this was going to roll out, but I believe a number of people in the system got caught off guard. We’re now just going to work to figure out how we’re going to manage within these reduced resources in the future.”

She explained the hospital used to receive a lump sum payment for funding and now will receive three separate “buckets”.  “The first bucket, 30 per cent, is still that lump sum payment, the second 30 per cent we’re getting for quality-based procedures. We’re going to be paid a certain amount of money to deliver a certain number of procedures and either we can do it within that price point, or we can’t.  And the last bucket, the largest bucket, is where they’re going to allocate the rest of the funding across the province as fairly as they can…. the money they have available.”

Egberts said the board was disappointed Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital was again denied “Small and Rural Hospital Funding” by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, but she and the South East Local Health Integration Network chair Paul Huras will investigate if there is any chance for an appeal as hospital to hospital trip exceeds 30 minutes travel time.

To qualify, hospitals must have an annual volume of less than 2,700 weighted cases and be more than 30 minutes away from a larger centre. The ministry uses the geographic centre of PEC as their reference point for the 30-minute travel time.

“The government understands they are not giving us the funding we need to keep delivering care the way we have in the past,” Egberts told the board.

“We want to be sure we have considered all the possible alternatives,” Blakely said. “The board will consider the consequences cuts could have on patients, the community and staff. The province has control of the funds. We have to do the very best job we can do with the resources we have.”

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  1. Wolf Braun says:

    QHC response from the Intell: “but unions will have several weeks to suggest other ideas.”

    QHC has now announced another significant round of lay-offs as published in the Intell.

    I hope the unions are going to suggest that in lieu of layoffs everyone takes a cut in pay rather than be out of work. Especially senior management should take a pay cut to cover the $12 million shortfall.

  2. concerned says:

    here we go again.

    I just read the news. that they have made CUTS already.

    I just hope its more non essential, Or reduce the management (not services).

    They have let one middle management go at Belleville hospital.

    hope they don’t come down here to Picton.

    as aid previously. we will be left with Bandaids.

  3. Wolf Braun says:

    Gary,

    Almost all small rural Ontario hospital are in the same situation as Prince Edward County Memorial. Amalgamated. Stripped to the bones and fighting to stay open. You can find out more here…. http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/

  4. Gary says:

    With the Conservative creation of hospital amalgamation does anyone know if another region faces the same scenario or challenges of QHC in operating 4 hospitals from Bancroft to Picton and between?

  5. Argyle says:

    Gary, you said it. The province has a massive debt. What you failed to add was that Ontario taxpayers find themselves in this mess due to years of fiscal mismanagement and patronage by Liberal governments. OrngeAir, EHealth and the Lhins are prime examples of health dollars wasted.Are you gaging yet?

  6. Marnie says:

    Home care is little more than an uncaring download of services from the hospital to hapless familes unqualified to cope with the level of care they are expected to provide. The goal is to empty those hospital beds at any cost. It is a sad commentary on our health care system.

  7. Gary says:

    And if the Liberals raped us it was with the aid of the Conservatives who held us down and shoved amalgamation of hospitals along with municipal governments down our throats! Some of us have a gag reflex while many just give up.

  8. Wolf Braun says:

    So what’s your solution RRichman ?

  9. R.Richman says:

    Well what do you expect. The Liberals raped us with gas plants etc then we re elected them. The Conservatives were not any better and the NDP well. Lets face it we in our life time will hear how if elected I will fix it then when elected rape the tax payers. Thats at all levels of government. As long as we allow all the branches of the governments to build their own empired with over paid over staffed admin. doing work that first year college kids could do for big bucks. Start there to reduce your short fall you pigs at the trough MIKE DUFFYS.

  10. Wolf Braun says:

    It is fact that the cost of health care around the world is a problem. As people are getting older and need more health services the funds are getting more scarce. Plus the growth and cost of bureaucracies around the world are increasing.

    There are threats of hospital closures around the world. Here’s one British hospital that is successfully fighting the NHA closure of their beloved Lewisham Hospital. Give it a read. Hospital closures can be prevented BUT it is hard work.

    http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/

  11. Doris Lane says:

    Not much CARE in QHC–Best idea is to stay away from hospitals.
    When we send people who are paralyzed with a stroke home to be cared for . We are not all nurses?
    Home care is a farce

  12. Dayton Johnson says:

    Here we go again!! So why are they talking up a new hospital for the County? Where is that money coming from? We probably should have cut our losses long ago and separated from QHC when the beds started to disappear. Whose idea was it in the first place to join QHC? (Napanee Hospital) Does it make you stop and think: Why are we donating, fundraising, running marathons,etc?. The more we “fundraise” the less the Province needs to kick in.This news has to be a kick to the gut of all the volunteers that work so hard to prop up and support what little we have left at PEMH.

  13. Gary says:

    Year to date QHC has had six (6) serious cases causing severe harm or death. Becoming infected while in hospital is primary. I don’t know how many of the 6 were at BGH but I do know there was one death there attributable to infection. Good reason to stay out of hospitals unless absolutely required as a visit could be your ending. We do not have the required funding to support the 4 hospitals in Quinte. The province is massively in debt so there isn’t more money. This being the case you have to cut services or streamline services to the larger centre. We may have reached the point that providing all services out of BGH is preferred over picking the bones clean from the other 3.

  14. Wolf Braun says:

    from the Intelligencer article….

    Blakely, QHC Board Chair: ” “All of our patients will be served,” he said, adding they’ll receive “the best possible care. “Where they get served … may be different.”

    That sounds like Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital’s final nail in the coffin ! So much for honesty from this Chairman and the management at QHC.

    Our tax dollars pay “this” management group handsomely yet they are unable to come up with local creative solutions for our health care. If, and when, PECMH doors are closed will be a black day for the County. 🙁

  15. Argyle says:

    Surprise, some how they always find the money to pay their administrators and managers exorbitant salaries.Not much cutting or saving happening there.

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