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The Northumberland Hills Hospital will reduce staff and hours for the 2014/15 fiscal year but says "we have achieved our primary goal of maintaining all current programs and services at NHH with no reduction in beds." But they are laying off the equivalent of approximately five full-time positions including 3 management positions.  It's all because "Global funding will be held to a 0% increase for the fourth year, despite the increased demand for care, and despite inflationary increases from labour and supply contracts."  Part of the problem is that although overall patient numbers are only 2% higher since 2010/11, occupancy rates in the hospital's six-bed Intensive Care Unit rose 23% in the same period and the need for ventilators (equipment that helps people breathe when their own lungs can't) rose even more sharply (29%).

Northumberland Hills HospitalEach year, the Hospital must operate with a balanced budget but there were operational deficits in previous years so in the coming year, this debt must be repaid.  It makes this year's budget (starting April 1, 2014) that much more difficult.

So where are they cutting back (or increasing revenue)?

  • elimination of three management positions;
  • reduction of Ambulatory Clinic hours of operation and Operating Room hours for elective, non-urgent procedures;
  • closure of the public cafeteria on weekends (effective July/August 2014).
  • increase in rates for private and semi-private patient rooms; and
  • The NHH Foundation (the NHH fund-raising group) has agreed to provide some financial support for continuing education programs for staff and physicians as well as the hospital's gerontological program.

Because it's a union shop, the exact individuals affected by layoffs are not yet known (maybe they know but it's not yet announced); there may be some offers of early retirement too.

The challenge, says NHH Board Chair Doug Mann, is that "funding for our hospital is simply not keeping pace."

Press Release.

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