As reported earlier this year, Grey Bruce Health Services is facing a significant deficit due in part to a change in the provincial funding model for hospitals its size. After six years of balanced budgets, GBHS is projecting a year end operating shortfall of about $4 million this fiscal year (ending in March 2017). If no changes are made to how GBHS delivers services, the deficit is expected to grow to approximately $7 million in 2017/18.
The provincial funding model that applies to GBHS is based on a number of factors, including the volume of patients, the complexity and cost of care provided, and the demographics and health status of the populations being served.
“The provincial funding model that applies to GBHS rewards urban centres with growing populations and sets standards for cost effectiveness that cannot be realized by a multi-hospital, integrated system serving a widely dispersed rural population that is not growing,” said Lance Thurston, President and Chief Executive Officer of GBHS.
Over the past several months, staff and physicians have worked on a number of potential measures to reduce the operating deficit over the next four years. The GBHS Board of Directors is assessing the options, and as committed to by the Board at the outset of this process, no decisions will be made until the Board has the benefit of input from a series of internal and public engagement sessions.
Those sessions will begin in late January, and a schedule of public meetings will be available shortly and posted on the GBHS website.
GBHS is working closely with the South West Local Health Integration Network and the Ministry of Health regarding its financial situation, advocating for a more equitable and realistic funding arrangement. Both the LHIN and the Ministry have responded positively to the GBHS call for funding assistance. GBHS remains cautiously optimistic on the funding front.
“The inflationary pressures of maintaining quality services, equipment, buildings and infrastructure at six hospitals and a regional withdrawal management centre continue to escalate, and short term solutions will not guarantee our long-term financial stability,” said Thurston. “Even with additional funding, GBHS will need to make changes to how it now operates. With any changes, our goal is to ensure we continue delivering quality care to the communities we serve.”
Media contact: Mary Margaret Crapper, Director, Communications & Public Relations, Grey Bruce Health Services, 519-376-2121 ext. 2806, firstname.lastname@example.org