5/9/11

Now where is the other $71.8 M in new hospital funding going?

Ministry of Health and media reports place the total hospital funding increase announced Friday to reduce Emergency Room (ER) wait times at $100 million for 74 hospitals.  

Above and beyond the $28.2 million for short stay beds discussed earlier, that leaves $71.8 million for other ER projects. 

The Ministry says that another $47.4 million will be distributed among the 74 hospitals to fund other projects to decrease ER wait timesThis would include new hospital initiatives and initiatives already underway.  Which means that at least some of this new money will not result in any new capacity at the hospitals.   

The Ministry cites these as examples of activities that could be funded: 
  • Expanding  and reorganizing ER staff;  
  • Creating ER rapid assessment zones; 
  • Renovating ERs to improve patient flow. 
The Ministry also notes $10.3 million to reduce the time ER patients spend waiting for an initial assessment, and $14 million in "variable incentive funding" to reward qualifying hospitals for treating more patients within established targets. 

So there were also funding announcements for other hospitals on Friday "to reduce ER wait times": Royal Vic (in Barrie), $1.3 million, Quinte Health, $1.2 million; Peterborough Regional, $1.1 million; Grand River, $935 K; St. Mary's, $765 K, Cambridge Memorial, $782 K; and Brantford General, $250K.  

But it is not clear (to this writer) that any of these funding announcements will result in extra beds.  At Peterborough Regional the funding reportedly will go to making improvements in triage, shifting physician scheduling to match peak volumes and increasing the amount of doctors on regular schedules.  

In any case, the $100 M is  a fair scoop of cash: about 0.5% total funding increase for hospitals.   

And if there really is $100 million coming to improve ER service, the list of hospitals that will get some of it will have to grow by quite a bit. 

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