Province allows small hospital designation for SBGHC

Announcement means more funding for four hospitals

By Barb McKay


Perseverance has paid off for the South Bruce Grey Health Centre, which will receive additional funding from the province this year.


SBGHC president and CEO Paul Rosebush told The Independent Thursday that the province has revisited the way it designates the hospitals under its funding formula. The network is made up of Kincardine, Walkerton, Durham and Chesley hospitals.


“The campaign to get our hospitals looked at as four small hospitals for funding purposes has been achieved,” he said. “This is an unprecedented development and we’re the only network in the province being treated this way.”


The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care changed its funding formula for hospitals in 2012.

Under the new model, hospitals receive 40 per cent of their funding based on the number of patients who come through the doors and what are considered to be the clinical needs of the community. Small hospitals are defined as facilities that see fewer than 2,700 weighted cases (standard acute patients) per year.


“The immediate impact is that we will get our one per cent small hospital incentive,” Rosebush said.


That funding amounts to approximately $300,000 for the 2014/2015 fiscal year. In addition, the province has restored $127,000 in funding that it had planned to remove from this year’s budget.


“This confirms that we will end the year (2013) with a surplus,” Rosebush said.


It’s good news, considering that many hospitals in Ontario are ending their last fiscal year with deficits, but the SBGHC will still face financial challenges. Rosebush said inflation increases the cost for staffing and supplies annually, but provincial funding remains stagnant or decreases. The board is projecting a deficit of a little more than $1 million for 2014/2015 and is looking at efficiencies in order to deliver a balanced budget by June.


“We’ve been doing this over the past few years, so there are few efficiencies left,” Rosebush said, adding that this isn’t a situation that is unique to the SBGHC.


In other news, there could be an announcement in the near future about the Kincardine redevelopment project. Rosebush said the board has been trying to get a firm understanding about what the Ministry’s position is on the project, but has so far received no feedback. The board, working with the South West Local Health Integration Network, has been looking at other options to make the project a reality.


“If Plan A falls through I think we’ll be able to come to the community with a pretty solid Plan B, probably by June,” Rosebush said. “It will be a wonderful redevelopment that will last at least 15 years.”


He added the hospital requires good patient flow and state-of-the-art facilities to provide the best patient care.


“We aren’t just sitting around waiting,” he said. “We are looking at options.”


The SBGHC is continuing its efforts to re-brand the hospital network to give a clearer identity. Part of that will be coming up with a new name.


“It takes time because what we decide on will have to last a lifetime,” Rosebush said. “We want a name that captures the uniqueness of our corporation.”