A statement from the office of Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller:
Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, is pleased to see the long-standing funding inequity for small- and medium-sized hospitals addressed.
On March 25, Ontario released a fiscal update, Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. This plan recognized the historic funding shortfalls for small- and medium-sized hospitals and will ensure continued financial stability by making the $68 million in top-up funding from 2019/20 part of the base funding for these hospitals going forward. The plan also ensures that all publicly funded hospitals will receive a minimum of a 1 per cent increase.
“This is good news for our medium-sized hospitals in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” said Miller. “In the past our hospitals had to request these additional funds each year, and were never guaranteed a successful outcome. This made it difficult for our hospitals to plan for future expenses. I have long been advocating for a fix to the funding inequities faced by our medium-sized hospitals and I am happy to see our government has addressed this issue.”
This announcement is part of $935 million more in new investments for Ontario’s hospitals this year identified in Ontario’s Action Plan. Of that funding, $594 million will be directed to support hospitals to meet current and future demands for regular services. This represents approximately a 3 per cent overall increase in funding to the hospital sector in Ontario.
Locally, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s base funding has increased by $4,880,500, with $3,189,000 of that becoming annualized. And West Parry Sound Health Centre’s base funding has increased by $2,676,500, with $1,599,000 of that becoming annualized. This will greatly increase their ability to plan for future needs. There will be additional funding available to hospitals to help cover the expenses related to COVID-19.
“This announcement is great news for our communities in Muskoka and area, and we appreciate the ongoing advocacy by Mr. Miller for our multi-site hospital,” said MAHC CEO Natalie Bubela. “This additional funding helps to ease MAHC’s operating pressures, and we will continue to work with the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, Ministry of Health and provincial government for incremental funding to close our operating gap.”
“We appreciate the significant investments being made toward the provision of health care in our community, especially in these difficult and uncertain times,” said Donald Sanderson, WPSHC CEO. “The arrival of COVID-19 has added significant pressure to our financial challenges. Until a vaccine is developed, COVID-19 will continue to fundamentally change the way in which we provide care. This will no doubt contribute to the current fiscal and operational uncertainty facing West Parry Sound Health Centre. We are thankful to our MPP Norm Miller for his ongoing advocacy in support of sustainable funding for our health centre and community.”
This year our hospitals have been hit with mounting expenses related to COVID-19 and the loss of some of their non-government funding streams, such as parking and cafeteria sales. There will be additional funding to cover COVID-19 related expenses which will be distributed at a later date based on the expenses incurred by each hospital.