PARRY SOUND - Although the West Parry Sound Health Centre (WPSHC) ended its fiscal year with a balanced budget, it expects tough times ahead.
According to information in its weekly newsletter, all of the health centre’s programs and services (excluding Lakeland Long Term Care and the West Parry Sound Health Centre Foundation) account for $52 million dollars of financial activity.
Health centre CEO Donald Sanderson credits the dedication of its staff and trustees for the balanced budget.
“Balancing the budget for the past fiscal year is an accomplishment that all trustees and staff share pride in,” Sanderson said. “We clearly understand that our reported net income of $11,300 is very small in comparison to our $52-million operating budget and maintaining a balanced position becomes more and more difficult. The North East Local Health Integration Network has told the health centre that our current budget allocation will be reduced by 0.8 per cent, a decrease of $263,082.”
Final funding allocations, according to the North East LHIN are waiting for legislative approval and adjustments according to the new funding model’s quality-based components.
Sanderson said although the health centre was hopeful that even a one per cent budget increase would assist the facility in keeping pace with costs, the projected reduction puts added pressure on the necessary work to find balance in the current fiscal year.
Additionally, the higher costs of pharmaceutical and medical supplies are added to collective agreements rising on average by 1.4 per cent. As well, the cost of benefits, directly linked as a percentage of wages will also increase.
“We’re disappointed and we will strongly advocate for appropriate funding at every opportunity, but we are not surprised,” said Sanderson. “In the provincial budget, in the Drummond Report, and in numerous statements from the Ministry of Health, it has been made very clear that significant change is taking place. Our financial challenges are common across the public sector and we find ourselves in a financial position that is not completely unfamiliar. I have a direct and clear mandate from our board to balance expenses within the resources that are made available. Our strategy is to focus on core services and protect the provision of safe quality care.
“We will continue to manage expenses, such as our sick and overtime costs, and provide close scrutiny over all of our resources - staff time, supply costs, along with any activity related to new or expanded programs, in order to preserve our mission of caring for the community we are privileged to serve.”