Remember this? I do!

Deb Matthews: “…the green light… the go ahead… I want to be very clear. This money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through the treasury board. All of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. This money is part of our infrastructre plan….this money is part of that plan.”

Do you remember this day? I do…and over 100,000 Miltonians do as well. Here is a press release from MPP Ted Chudleigh.

Chudleigh urges the people of Milton to remain vigilant as the 2012 budget nears

(Milton) – With the tabling of the 2012 Ontario Budget less than a week away, and the Minister of Finance promising massive infrastructure cuts, Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh today urged the people of Milton to keep their voices strong to ensure the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is completed on time.

“All of us were thrilled when the Minister finally promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016. But we can’t kid ourselves. With the Liberals’ spending problem hitting us hard, the long list of broken Liberal promises and with talk of hospital projects being axed in the upcoming budget we need to keep our voices strong,” said Chudleigh.

“Was this just another Liberal lie to get elected?” asked Chudleigh

The PC Government began the project to expand the Milton hospital in 2001. In 2003, soon after they were elected, the McGuinty Liberals cancelled the expansion.

Subsequently, for close to a decade, the people of Milton worked diligently to explain to the Liberals the necessity of expanding the hospital. A booming population and undersized hospital were not acceptable and had begun to put the heath of their families at risk.

On August 25, 2011 the Liberal Minister of Health and Long Term Care finally heard the Town’s plea and promised the province would fund the hospital’s expansion, “I want to be very clear this money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through our treasury board. All of the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed,” she said.

“Was Milton lied to?” asked Chudleigh “I guess only time will tell.”

Indeed, noting that the announcement to expand Milton District Hospital occurred just before the provincial election, Chudleigh questioned if the McGuinty Liberals ever intended to keep their promise to expand the hospital by 2016.

“The Minister stood in the Milton hospital, with tears in her eyes, and promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016,” said Chudleigh. “If this was an election ploy it is unforgivable.”

Changes to Ontario’s Hospital Funding Formula

Today in the Ontario Legislature the governing Liberal party announced via the Throne Speech potential changes to Ontario hospital funding formula.

Details are expected to be released when the budget is delivered later this month by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.  Will this mean more or less funding available for hospitals like Milton and the surrounding areas?

Will areas that are experiencing massive road (ie MILTON, ON) receive more funding to match the ever increasing demand for services or will we be left by the wayside?

Here is a link to the article in the Globe and Mail this afternoon.

More to come later.

Karen Howlett

Toronto From Monday’s Globe and Mail Published on Sunday, Mar. 07, 2010 10:07PM EST Last updated on Monday, Mar. 08, 2010 3:31AM EST

Ontario is preparing a radical change to hospital funding, tackling health costs by tailoring hospital budgets to match the size and age of their communities.

The new formula, which could quickly spread to other provinces if successful, would also give more money to hospitals that treat patients more efficiently, according to health care insiders and sources close to the government.

Governments across Canada face aging populations that are driving up health costs. The pressure is particularly acute in Ontario, where health care consumes 42 cents of every dollar in program spending, while the province struggles with a record deficit of $24.7-billion.

The new approach would do away with the global hospital budgets that for decades have allocated funding evenly across the board, and could reshape the way health spending priorities are set. Premier Dalton McGuinty’s so-called Health Based Allocation Model, or HBAM for short, would divert more money to hospitals in regions where the population is growing and aging . The proposed model, which may be announced as soon as the provincial budget later this month, would also reward better-performing hospitals. They would be in line for additional money based on how cost-effectively they treat patients.

“It’s hugely controversial because there could be winners and losers,” said a hospital executive who asked not to be named.

The model is designed to close the gap between hospitals that have more than enough funding to meet their operating budgets and those that are deep in deficit. Under such a scenario, some hospitals would receive no funding increase at all, the sources said.

Changing the way hospitals are funded would not actually produce savings for the province, especially when labour costs account for a huge chunk of a hospital’s budget. But the change would slow down the pace of growth, now running about 6 per centv a year, because it would put pressure on hospitals to operate more efficiently, the sources said.

“HBAM has never been about saving money,” said a source close to the government. “It’s all about getting the incremental new dollars to the most needed areas.”

The new model would direct extra funding to hospitals that serve growing populations, or populations of above-average age, which can be expected to have higher health care costs.

Under the current regime, Ontario’s 154 hospitals received a funding increase of 2.1 per cent for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, bringing their total base funding to $14.9-billion. But the government also quietly topped-up funding for a handful of cash-strapped hospitals. William Osler Health Centre, which operates three hospitals in Etobicoke, Brampton and Peel, received a $20-million increase to its base funding, the largest of any group.

Duncan Sinclair, professor emeritus and former dean of medicine at Queen’s University who led a restructuring of Ontario’s system in the 1990s, said most provinces are moving in the direction of introducing incentives for hospitals to boost their productivity.

“It would seem that Ontario is following a general trend,” he said.

Some hospitals already receive a portion of their funding based on pay-for-performance. For example, just under one-third of the funding for University Health Network, one of Canada’s largest operators, is based on performance because of the complexity of services offered by its three hospitals in Toronto.

Tom Closson, head of the Ontario Hospital Association, has urged the government to adopt a funding system that takes into account the quality of service a hospital provides as well as the mix of patients.

“The concept makes a lot of sense,” he said in an interview yesterday. “It ensures that we’re taking into consideration the community being served as well as the efficiency of the organization.”

But he cautioned that the proposed system should not be applied across the board to smaller hospitals in small towns and rural Ontario. Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition also said expanding pay-for-performance to small hospitals would lead to further disparities between the level of care available in rural versus urban Ontario, and would force patients to travel farther for care.

Way to go Milton

35,000 people in Milton had their say.  They want the governments at all levels to make the expansion of Milton’s Hospital a priority…and NOW!  The only question that remains is will David Caplan, Minister of Health and George Smitherman, Minister of Infrastructure listen???  Only time will tell.

Overwhelming support

Nearly 35,000 residents sign petition postcards in group’s ongoing push for hospital expansion

Tim Foran, Canadian Champion Staff
Published on Jul 29, 2009

A volunteer group dedicated to securing provincial approval and funding for an expanded Milton District Hospital says it has collected signatures from close to 35,000 people on postcards addressed to Ontario’s Minister of Health.

“The incredible enthusiasm in this community is amazing,” said Pete Pomeroy, co-chair of the Friends of Milton Hospital, which started its postcard signing blitz about two months ago assisted by $25,000 in funding from the Town of Milton.

The group is now hoping to deliver the postcards personally to the Minister of Health, David Caplan, and it also wants to meet with the Minister of Infrastructure, George Smitherman. The two ministries are expected to make final decisions on which of 58 proposed hospital capital projects will get put onto an updated 10-year infrastructure plan, expected to be released this fall.

“We need a hospital (expansion), we need a place to go that ourselves and our family feel we’re going to get the care that we need, they (the hospital) have the specialties that we need, that we can have faith in our hospital,” said Cari Kovachik-MacNeil, co-chair along with Pomeroy.

The duo met last Wednesday to present their case to Dr. Sacha Bhatia, healthy policy advisor to Ontario Premier Dalton McGunity.

Bhatia listened to the group’s concerns but advised them they should be working with officials from the ministries of health and infrastructure and the Mississauga-Halton Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), said Karman Wong, a spokesperson from the Premier’s Office. LHINs are responsible for planning, funding and integrating health care services locally.

“At the end of the day, decisions on which hospitals should get funding shouldn’t be political,” said Wong. “They should be based on where the need is.”

The criteria for assessing that need is what concerns Pomeroy and Kovachik-MacNeil. They said at least one criterion the Province will be using is wait time statistics for hospital emergency rooms (ER).

In this respect, statistics show Milton District Hospital fares better than most hospitals. For the first quarter of this year, the average wait time for a serious condition at the hospital ER was just under five hours, a couple hours better than the provincial average and about half the time spent by patients at hospitals in Burlington and Mississauga.

“Having said that, health care is more than emergency (service),” argued Kovachik-MacNeil. She said patients from Milton should not be forced to go to other hospitals for specialized services.

Pomeroy added many people believe HHS’s new Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, expected to begin construction over the next couple years, will be a regional hospital built to accommodate the needs of Miltonians.

“But it isn’t true, that isn’t the case,” said Pomeroy.

While the Friends of Milton Hospital’s postcard campaign has wrapped up, a similar petition for a Milton hospital expansion is still being circulated.

Led by former director of development with the Milton District Hospital Foundation, Donna McLaughlin, the Milton Hospital Action Committee said in April it wanted to collect 50,000 signatures on a petition to be presented to the provincial legislature by Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh on June 6.

“It (the petition) was about 8,000 (signatures) at the end of June and we decided to hold it for the summer,” said Chudleigh. “They’re still collecting signatures and I’m going to present it in the House in September.”

Tim Foran can be reached at