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Buried in a press release on January 26th about a coaching team finding "further efficiencies/cost reduction at NHH", the Hospital has revealed that they have a serious financial problem.  They present it as positively as they can - it means the problems "confirm a need for short- and long-term strategies to incorporate greater partnership, integration and clinical change."  A study into the Hospital's operations by consultants JD & Associates divided their report into 4 parts: Funding Reform, Data Quality, Clinical activity/costs and Financial position. Basically, because of the change in the way money is provided, the need to use data more effectively,  and the requirement to provide more acute care (partly because of changing demographics), there is a financial problem.

Northumberland Hills HospitalThe NHH Board believes that a shortfall might be covered by "further efficiencies and cost reduction" … "but within NHH, the opportunity is relatively small ($1 - $2 M)".

But, the hospital's press release goes on to say:

Even with these efficiencies, the projected cumulative operating deficit for NHH for the next three years was still estimated at $3-$5 M. Operating deficits are not permitted in Ontario hospitals."

Jack Russell, NHH Board Chair, said:

For our Board, … the status quo is not an option for NHH ….? We cannot focus on the current year alone, we must look ahead, five and even 10 years out. Greater partnership, integration and clinical change are required to continue to provide local acute care services

He did say that although

"This is difficult news  …. No decisions have been made. We look forward to the opportunity to bring the team's findings forward to the LHIN Board later this week. With their support, we intend to develop both a short-term Improvement Plan and long-term re-vision of NHH."

Hospital CEO Linda Davis said:

Engagement with the LHIN, our community partners and all audiences will be essential as we move forward. We will be sharing the written report from the review team in the coming weeks and further details on our engagement plan. We thank everyone in our community for their continued support as we move forward together.

It seems to me that this means the Hospital is short $3 - $5 million over 3 years and there will be cuts in service unless some new sources of money can be found.

In February 2014, NHH announced cutbacks in management but not services (details).  This year, there may be more layoffs but in addition, services will likely be cut.

Trenton is facing the same problem and MPP Lou Rinaldi had no answers in an address to Quinte West Council.  Rinaldi pointed to the high salaries paid to Hospital administrators. "The CEO (at QHC- Trenton Hospital) makes 40 per cent more than the premier of Ontario," he said and "the number of QHC employees on the Sunshine List (making over $100,000 a year) has jumped from six in 2008 to 58 in 2013."

I've heard talk of cutting back on Emergency Services.  It's known that Hospital administrators are not happy that people use the Emergency room at the Hospital instead of walk in clinics for minor problems.  It's probably time to have a public debate on this issue. 

Download NHH Press releaseDownload NHH Press release