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2013-12-13 at 15:24

$5 million problem

By Jamie Smith,
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Hospital officials say $5 million is needed to deal with a capacity crisis that has hit health-care providers across the city this year.

Over capacity issues have forced the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre into a deficit, which under provincial law isn't allowed, for two of the past three years.

Earlier this month the hospital board was presented with figures showing this year would be no different as it has done all it can to improve efficiency but would still need $5 million if it wants to keep serving as the region's health sciences centre.

"If the (Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre) continues with the same service levels which have been provided since 2010/11 and it does not receive additional funding, it will continue to erode its working capital position at the rate of approximately $5 million/year," the report states.

"The only way the (Health Sciences Centre) can balance its budget, without any additional funding, is to make substantial service cuts to its inpatient surgical bed program. The Local Health Integration Network does not support these types of service cuts, as this would significantly compromise (the Health Sciences Centre’s) regional and
academic role in the LHIN."

An extra $5 million would help relieve pressure from a record amount of people waiting in hospital to receive other care in the community and, according to the report, the LHIN is recommending the hospital needs the additional $5 million in base funding.

The hospital only receives funding for 386 people. With more than 400 people currently, the hospital has to bring in extra staff and resources its not funded for. That's leaving them around $5 million short by the end of the year.

"To look after patients that are in unfunded beds," hospital executive vice president of patient services Mark Henderson said.

Over the next three years the hospital also needs to start replacing equipment that's been there since it opened more than 10 years ago.

"It breaks down and then you're facing very expensive repair bills or they break down completely and you can’t deliver service," Henderson said.

But on Friday Northwest LHIN CEO Laura Kokocinski said over capacity is an issue all over the city, which has led to all health care providers coming together to figure out short, medium- and long-term solutions.

"Once that plan is ready we will have a better idea of what our needs are both for today and going forward," she said.

As for the hospital's budget, she's aware that there have been additional expenses and pressures.

"They are tracking and forecasting to a balanced budget by the end of the year," she said.

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Tbay99 says:
The hospital is getting swamped by patients from reserves surrounding the region, this had to have been expected. Poor planning for a REGIONAL hospital!
12/13/2013 3:29:40 PM
Eastender says:
Thank goodness we are about to build an event centre, cuzz we can send the overflow from the hospital over there. Should be plenty of room for dozens of beds. Oh, and..... and.....and.. the new Art Gallery, why that should accomodate another dozen beds as well.

As we all know, art appreciates in value, so those two beacons of beauty, at the marina, should be worth at least two million by now. How about we sell them at an art auction. That should alleviate a good part of the cash shortfall.
12/14/2013 10:23:14 AM
jimmyboy says:
Meanwhile M.P.P. Bill Mauro is HOT to TROT on the Spring Bear Hunt....that's been his top priority for some time now is he off base or what...???
12/13/2013 4:11:43 PM
Tachyion says:
Mauro is never on base.....Spring bear hunt is a pretty big deal at Queen's Park. Hell, last time I saw a bear was four years ago ( and that was not in the city ), a moose around six, deer are turning into large gangs, and politicians....well, they are everywhere ( the Liberal ones anyway ).
12/13/2013 10:14:09 PM
hagar says:
Yes,Jimmy, however don't blame Bill Mauro. Thank Mike Harris and his cronies including Tim Hudak. It was their brainwave that led to the building of one hospital of this size and we were lucky to receive even that! Don't blame the architects or the city as some have. This was a solely a provincial decision and the government of that time was Conservative!
12/13/2013 5:17:35 PM
fastball says:
Bang on right, Hagar.
Harris did more damage to this province than we'll ever know. In order to fulfill an election mandate of "balancing the budget" - instead of streamlining and making things more efficient, he took the easy route and just slashed payroll to cut costs. That way it looked "balanced".
Laying off nurses, closing facilities and stomping on welfare moms was his MO.
Meanwhile, I do not blame the local guys...they stuck to their guns and wouldn't accept the "let's renovate McKellar/PA General" option. But I guess they took the best deal they could get at the time. It's time to add another floor to that place and put another 100-odd beds in it. That place services a city of 100 thousand people and a similar number of residents in the region. In its current configuration - the hospital is totally insufficient for the reality of this area.
12/14/2013 10:03:44 AM
Chaos says:
Stop the gravy train called LHIN - saved you 5 million easy.
12/13/2013 5:49:27 PM
fairlane says:
Agreed. And trim the fat at the CCAC's while you're at it. You wouldn't believe the spending that goes on there. They live pretty well in their perch
12/14/2013 10:43:35 PM
mazda says:
Hard to believe they are so far behind concidering what they charge for semi private rooms, my wife got a infection last year after giving birth there and spent 17 days in a semi private room which cost over $4800.00. (over $282.35 a day with no tv or internet). not to mention caused by the procedure they did to begin with.
12/13/2013 6:43:44 PM
nest27 says:
You only pay for a semi-private or private room if YOU CHOOSE to stay in a semi-private/private room. So quit complaining since it was YOUR CHOICE (or your wife's).
12/14/2013 11:14:36 AM
arjay says:
jimmy boy!!
How about the $1.1 Billion , Bill Mauro and His fellow liberals blew in Oakville!? Time for a change! BUT WHAT?
12/13/2013 7:19:25 PM
sickandtired says:
Thunder Bay is the only large urban centre that will soon no longer have a mental health hospital. The TBRHSC is struggling in many areas to provide mental health services. Move Adult Mental Health and Forensic Mental Health back to the LPH, and "voila" capacity for 60 more acute beds! Centralizing mental health maximizes economy of scale and provides a better service than doing a sketchy job in an acute-care setting! LPH is an excellent building which is ready, willing and able (except for the leadership of it) to provide excellent mental health care in our region! Soon, we'll have only 38 beds at St. Joe's Hospital with the rest of mental health farmed out to TBRHSC and LTC homes (oh yeah ... and have a number of mentally ill people wandering the streets with no supports and/or in jail and the shelters)!
12/13/2013 7:26:37 PM
thunderbaycouncel says:
I'm actually a thunder bay regional hospital employee. The public HAS NO CLUE WHAT IS GOING ON. Im not about to type paragraphs of information because I know it wont get posted. All I have to say is "IT CANNOT GET BETTER, ONLY WORSE"! literally. there is no way to correct this. Also, if Canadians think we get free health care think again! Funny some people actually think that. Ontario is one of the most taxed places in the world. THE WORLD! I wonder what it pays for??? All I know is that its better to pay cash in any hospital in the USA and get "red carpet" care, then to walk into our emergency.
12/13/2013 7:50:51 PM
buzzerd says:
assuming you have the cash, like a relative of mine who is about to sell their house in order to get a life saving operation, and yes she has health benefits at work but not enough to cover the whole bill.
12/14/2013 10:44:41 AM
REG says:
Well it's time for a new hospital. I hope we do it right this time.
12/13/2013 7:57:17 PM
Tachyion says:
Can anyone in a position to know answer this question........exactly where does the revenue from the parking lots( all revenue from all sources ) end up. In hospital's coffers, and does it stay there for hospital use exclusively, or are there other entanglements.
12/13/2013 9:57:57 PM
Tachyion says:
Sorry for the double up on this disappeared as I ended. Had no confirmation that comment would be posted.
12/13/2013 10:34:28 PM
nest27 says:
Actually the hospital has not part of those revenues or the maintenance of the parking lots. They are owned and operated by another company.
12/14/2013 11:07:27 AM
ring of fire dude says:
What a cash cow , I wonder what the chances are that the company that owns/maintains the lot is a Conservative Party donor/hack .
12/14/2013 9:16:12 PM
bttnk says:
@nest27 - With all due respect, you don't have a clue what you are talking about. The hospital takes in the revenue from the parking lots. The contract maintenance of the gates and lots.
12/14/2013 10:21:16 PM
J_Northey says:
As a person who lived near Toronto until moving here I can safely say the parking here is a major bargain and often free as the machines often won't work right and security just opens the gate for you. Down there you are looking at $10 just for going in then more on top up to $20 or more. Here I normally get a $2 or $4 charge for parking...don't think I've had a higher one yet and I've used the hospital a fair amount (3 children). Can't recall the last time I saw a charge that low in Southern Ontario.
12/15/2013 1:18:29 PM
Tachyion says:
Can anyone who is in a position to know, please answer this question. Where does the revenue from the parking lots ( all revenue from all sources ) end up. Does it stay in the hospitals be used "exclusively" for hospital needs, or are there other entanglements related to the original construction period? If this question were posed to the Hospital Administrator...would a straight forward answer be received?
12/13/2013 10:04:23 PM
Today1 says:
Are my questions unquantified?
12/13/2013 10:14:43 PM
tbayguy009 says:
Well yes and no.

They are totally unqualified questions when they start revealing the truth and scandals behind the setup of places like this. Like E-Health. Like ORNG. Like generating station closures.

Then a person is just crazy for being so stupid to think that possibly the government isn't working in the best interests for the people.
12/15/2013 8:16:01 AM says:
I work in the hospital and over capacity is a big problem, they are covering so many regions not enough beds, how about opening a wing at the LPH for the full time patients, creates more jobs, it's the same thing but a new site and leads to more vacancies when needed.
12/14/2013 5:00:04 AM
Analyst1 says:
Its sickening how much money is blown by the province in administration but they don't fund actual healthcare to the required level. Don't forget - we are still paying the healthcare premium introduced years ago. Overcrowding is unacceptable. And where is the federal government? There are a lot of first nations people froom area reserves and locally in the hospital. THAT is also a federal issue. Where is the money from them like it should be? If they agreed to provide health care in the treaties, then they need to fund it.
12/14/2013 7:54:05 AM
tudor says:
Jimmyboy, run against him or your buddy Hobbs. Let's see the 5 votes you might get.

No comment about the salaries for the top folks where if you eliminated one or two positions, you could likely save a half million.

At least someone actually wrote that this was a Harris story. They gave us 50 - 75 less beds than what was needed and they did not want to build this hospital. They wanted the same # of beds in the old PA General.

How much money is enough folks. We have gotten tons of cash, a train load of cash at the hospital, but once the money is delivered, the people in power spend it. Is it not possible that they are spending poorly and running a lousy business plan.

I don't hear these stories of shortfalls from the other hospital facilities in town. Why is that.

It is hard to not sound like I am defending the gov't, but c'mon folks. Your simplistic answers demonstrate how little you think before posting. The people running the place need to do some explaining.
12/14/2013 8:18:59 AM
Just what OTHER hospital(s) in town are you speaking of?
Are these other hospitals ERs for example as busy as the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre's? Are the wards as packed as they are being gridlocked 24/7?
Did you know St Joes is a chronic rehab hospital?you know what that means I hope
The fact is, the Regional does not have enough beds, BUT the fact is more beds WOULD NOT save us any money!!
Yes US, its the taxpayers hospital, it is being used by us not aliens from another planet.
An Aging demographic and subsequent more costly health care is the issue.Technology allows us to live longer lives,( not necessarily better )Costly surgeries consults, hospital stays and drugs drugs drugs all paid by you for you!
And when people go to the hospital they demand every bit of their taxpaid health care! And its goes up every year.
If you cast blame people,look in the mirror and see that we are all the cause of increased costs.
because we demand the care.
12/14/2013 1:16:46 PM
Nitesky says:
I want to know how people in beds lining the hallways are going to magically find rooms with an infusion of 5 million bucks. Surely an addition will cost much more than that. Remember when we implored them to build a larger hospital?
12/14/2013 10:40:12 AM
jimmyboy says:
Everyone in this city and region should both be highly concerned as well up in arms about this entire sad situation which has been ongoing ever since the place initially keep in mind went a record 58% over budget...and the government and the public got ROYALLY SCREWED....and there was never an AUDIT of this Hospital Build ever done by the government...I wonder why still after all these many years....and always will, after all we are talking and approved budget of $168 million vs. the final cost of $315 million....where oh where did all that money go...???
12/14/2013 2:23:07 PM
mystified says:
Request this information under the "Freedom of Information" act.
If you find hokey pokey then blow the whistle.
12/14/2013 6:59:51 PM
Eastender says:
Well some of it went into that big boat sitting at the marina.
12/14/2013 7:36:19 PM
Watchmaker says:
The city (and arguably the province) needed to start construction of more long term care beds 10 years ago. The "Grey Wave" was no secret and the shift in needs from acute to more chronic care should have been planned for. The politicians at all levels have dropped the ball.

The other side of this coin is the lack of funding and programs to deal with mental health. These patients get treated clinically in the hospital setting when they are in crisis and this area of health care has been grossly underserviced for a very long time.
12/14/2013 3:06:07 PM
anvil of crom says:
The Well documented grey dawn WAS no secret for government planners. Japan, France and other western countries are just coming to grips with this issue.
It WAS a known factor.
THAT IS WHY the hospital only has so many beds!!
The shift to more care at home was planned for = its a no brainer that plan was inadequate.
To add the Thunder Bay health care I will term it "model" is not the same as other LHINs on Ontario.
We have a large lack of family doctors, = hundreds of "orphaned" patients. Many of these show up in ER. The ER in turn is overrun, doctors burnt out, overworked. They quit, so they hire locums that cost more.( like "1st Class Chris Mazza" LOL!!)
To add to our woes ,the hospital services many outlying communities,and if these people need complex medical care they cannot convalesce back in dozens of places like Pikangikum. This keeps many of our beds full longer.
Simple solution? NOPE.
12/15/2013 3:23:36 PM
jimmyboy says:
reply to hagar...I'm not blaming MAURO...I'm just stating that his and his Liberal Party should have been all over the never ending CODE GRIDLOCK problems long I do not believe the CEO is anywhere worth the $400,000.00 annual salary she is receiving either...there is a lot of fat in management without any doubt...
12/14/2013 3:21:04 PM
gremlin says:
Why are any of you surprised by this? "There is nothing" I repeat, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT GOVERNMENT IS INVOLVED IN THAT CAN BE PROVIDED IN AN EFFICIENT MANNER. This applies to ALL GOVERNMENT PROVIDED PRODUCTS & SERVICES (health care, education, hydro, postal service, fire & police service, water, gas, road maintenance) to name a few, for two reasons. THEY'RE ALL TOP HEAVY IN MANAGEMENT & THEY ALL INVOLVE A UNIONIZED WORK FORCE. Simply put, they are the most costly least dependable & least efficient workers.

When will any of you GET IT? I think someone else already mentioned this but it doesn't help matters when there's a high percentage of people who "truly believe that health care is free". This shows how "dumb-downed" our society has become.

I've said it many times, SOCIALISM COMES AT A VERY HIGH COST!!!!!
12/14/2013 6:56:21 PM
thunderbaycouncel says:
THE LHP HAS LESS THAN 50 PATIENTS. THE LPH ONCE HELD OVER 1000 PATIENTS. MEANING THERE ARE 950 BEDS AVAILABLE. but sadly the heads of st. josephs hospital are trying their best to close the LPH which is scheduled to close its door 2016.
12/14/2013 7:57:54 PM
Cityisgreat says:
People...the LPH is not and can not house has lead in the water and asbestos's time to give up on this's time we planned long term and built new infrastructure
12/14/2013 11:17:12 PM says:
Why do we all assume that all these people need to stay in the hospital? Like other places across Ontario, there are patients occupying hospital beds while waiting for a bed to open in their preferred long-term care home.

They cannot be maintained in their homes as home care services offered by the CCAC are not keeping pace with the growing demand and complexity of care.

Last year 65 long-term care beds in the city were closed. The home was not an attractive option for many and the operator did not want to keep it open while it was running at a loss.

So the seniors are occupying the most expensive kind of bed in Northern Ontario - a bed in a teaching hospital. If they do not move out, new patients cannot be admitted for care. If there is no flow to the system (patients in - patients out) it places stress on the whole system.

We know what we need in the long-term. Do it now. It is the short term that is worrisome as we are mere days or weeks away from a significant outbreak.
12/15/2013 12:43:40 AM
cityisgreat says:
I don't understand do they need 5 million or are
"They are tracking and forecasting to a balanced budget by the end of the year," she said.

I'm confused.

12/15/2013 10:37:20 AM
DustInTheWind says:
``Over capacity issues have forced the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre into a deficit, which under provincial law isn't allowed, for two of the past three years.``

In lay man`s terms this translates into those waiting for LTC beds and those with mental health issues that can no longer be taken care of in a community setting with home care are taking up spaces in hospital for acute care. Their needs are far too complicated requiring 24 hour care. Taking care of them in a hospital setting costs far more than it does in a home that is suited for them. However, this issue is not unique to Thunder Bay and is happening all across this country. As such additional staff are required to care for these individuals in a hospital setting. The biggest mistake this government has made is to close mental health centre`s across Canada. IMHO Alzheimer`s and other types of Dementia should be classed as a mental health issue and the demand is increasing exponentially and funded as such
12/15/2013 11:48:38 AM
glock9 says:
Well they can save that five million dollars by renting a crane and wrecking ball, and shipping everyone somewhere else.
12/16/2013 6:25:02 PM
mcnews says:
@cityisgreat The outrageously over priced CEO of the unnecessary NW LHIN says it's all roses while Admin at the Hospital says they're running a big deficit because they are taking on patients they don't have the proper room for or staffing needed to handle the over capacity.
12/16/2013 10:48:57 PM
NearCanuck says:
I don't see how $5 million will be more than a band-aid solution. There is a desperate need for more long-term care facilities in the province, not just Thunder Bay. Clear the giant backlog of patients waiting for long-term care, and we would have enough hospital beds.

As much as it is distasteful for some, getting some private long-term care facilities would take the pressure off of the public system.
12/17/2013 11:21:44 AM
FreshNew Faces says:
What I don`t get is, why is it that all these companies from government positions right down to Walmart, feel that there needs to be a manger for every single department, then there needs to be an assistant manager, store manger or 5 presidents 15 vice presidents.

Why is there so many top heavy workers that do nearly next to nothing, but get the cream of the crop in pay cheques while the back breaking laborers are running around like chickens with their heads cut off and receive next to nothing trying to make ends meet?

Something is seriously wrong with this picture and everybody suffers, except those lazy ones sitting in their heated leather chairs dictating what should be done and doing nothing.
12/18/2013 1:24:25 AM
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