At a news conference this morning, Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland Quinte West announced $3.5 million in one-time funding for QHC. Through QHC’s work with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and South East Local Health Integration Network, they have recognized that the new funding formula is having a significant impact on multi-site, rural hospitals like QHC.
“This is one-time alleviation, so we still need to determine how we are going to operate within the reduced government funding for QHC and create a sustainable health care system for the future,” said Mary Clare Egberts, President & CEO. “However, we look forward to continuing to work directly with the Ministry, LHIN and our communities to find the right long-term solutions and have been assured of the Ministry’s support for this approach.”
There will also still need to be changes to all of QHC’s hospitals in 2015/16 in order to become even more cost efficient. There have been efficiencies and cost saving opportunities through a process that began last fall. Some of these were announced in December and the remaining proposed changes for 2015/16 will be taken to QHC’s union partners to start the staff planning process on March 2 and 3.
It was also announced that all four hospitals with remain open, with 24 hour emergency rooms. “The QHC Board and Management absolutely want to retain four hospitals with 24 hour emergency access. We are undertaking a very comprehensive process to help determine how we can best accomplish this,” said Board Chair Steve Blakely. “There are no pre-determined solutions or outcomes. Thanks to the extra Ministry funding for this year, we now have the time we require to start fresh and have a robust community engagement process about the future of local health services, before we need to make decisions.”
Mr. Blakey added that since QHC is just one partner in the health care system, we want to bring together municipal leaders, health care partners , patients and community leaders to help define what the future of health care should look like in our communities and then work together to make that happen.
“We have been given the opportunity to perhaps create something truly unique to meet the long-term health care needs of our communities. To make that happen, we need to work together with a focus on building the future. We want to be able to use that interest to create a shared vision for the local health care system that the entire community can rally around,” said Mary Clare.