Riverside welcomes funding boost

The CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. is applauding an announcement Tuesday that the province will be delivering $1.75 billion in new funding for Ontario hospitals—the first-ever multi-year deal aimed to provide hospitals with the financial stability they’ve been looking for.
“This basically covers inflation costs,” Wayne Woods said Thursday morning, adding the funding will be used to help pay for labour, supplies, and utilities.
“In actual fact, our budget [for this year] started in April. But traditionally, you don’t know what your true costs are going to be until later in the year,” he noted.
“This funding will help balance the budget.
“And of course, we’ll know what we’ll be getting for next year, and the year after that,” added Woods. “It’s going to make it a lot better, a lot easier, to balance the budget.
“But we’d welcome more,” he remarked.
Riverside will be getting roughly $503,000 this year, with another $480,000 and $388,000, respectively, in the next two years.
The funding was announced Tuesday afternoon by Health and Long-term Care minister George Smitherman.
“This is the kind of stable, multi-year funding hospitals have long been asking for, and we have delivered,” he said in a press release.
“It will greatly increase their ability to plan for the care needs of their patients, manage their finances, and keep their budgets in balance,” Smitherman added.
In all, hospitals will receive $12.27 billion in operating funding this fiscal year, at least $12.6 billion for operations in 2006/07, and at least $13.1 billion in 2007/08.
The funding for this year amounts to an increase of $650 million.
Hospitals will receive a 5.1 percent increase in hospital operation funding over last year.
“Hospitals are a cornerstone of our health care system. They deliver world-class acute care to Ontario patients,” said Smitherman.
“More than half a billion dollars in new funding this year will allow them to deliver even better care, meeting the needs of our growing and aging population now and in the future,” he added.
As a result of the hospital balanced budget initiative the government launched last year, 89 of 154 public hospitals are now projected to balance their books for last year, noted Smitherman.
The government will work closely with hospitals that need more help to improve their financial health and eliminate their deficits by March, 2006, he added.