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On October 28, the appointed “Review team” presented their report on a Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP) to the Central East LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) Board.  The HIP was required for the Northumberland Hills Hospital because the Hospital Board said that they could not see how their future services were financially sustainable on their current budget.  The good news is that the report accepts that services cannot be reduced because “the Hospital can be expected to experience a >10% increase in inpatient service demand over the next five years.”  They also agreed that the ”hospital is facing unsustainable operating and working capital deficits for the foreseeable future”.  Although they have recommendations to help, they agree that by themselves, they won’t fully solve the problem.

Northumberland Hills HospitalLHIN Staff were reporting on the results of the study commissioned by the LHIN from the Hay group in July of this year.  This was required because although in late 2014, the Hospital said they had financial difficulties, they did not have a solution.  So now the Hay report has been delivered and decisions must be made as to what to be done about their recommendations.

It seems that the hospital will implement all 54 recommendations but it’s not clear what these are.

Some limited information can be gleaned from the LHIN presentation.

As well as savings from “operational efficiencies” (not spelled out), it is planned to “explore Integration opportunities” (not spelled out).

Operating efficiencies are expected to save about $2.5M over two years and include:

  • changing support services
  • consolidating Medical/Surgical Units
  • combining the Restorative and Palliative Care Units
  • revising the approach to relief staffing
  • adding staff hours to the Intensive Care Unit;
  • Exploring Integration

“Exploring integration” is expected to take several years to complete and could realize about $2.3M in savings over four years.

LHIN Staff say that they “recognize that pursuing integration opportunities usually involves creating new standards, patterns of interaction, and expectations.” 

According to the LHIN Web site, Integration includes actions:

  • to co-ordinate services and interactions between different persons and entities;
  • to partner with another person or entity in providing services or in operating
  • to transfer, merge or amalgamate services, operations, persons or entities
  • to start or cease providing services
  • to cease to operate or to dissolve or wind up the operations of a person or entity.

I’d guess another word for that would be outsourcing.

The report also talked about (again with no details)

  • Revenue-maximization initiatives.
  • Modest investments are contemplated as part of the proposed HIP.

The information made public is very limited – there is very little detail on the recommended changes; will there be staff reductions?  Will there be pay reductions?  We pay for hospitals with taxes but reports on how to fix problems are only partially made public.

But the bottom line appears to be that although there will be changes at the Hospital, we won’t lose any services – and, the LHIN might have to find a way to give the local hospital more money.

Download the full presentation by LHIN staff to the LHIN board.

 

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